Take off our shoes

Daily Reading for June 3 • The Martyrs of Uganda

As we meet other cultures, we understand that the gospel challenges our own culture, and we strive to live and offer an authentic gospel undistorted by that background. Missioners also realize, however, that Christ may be expressed authentically through their own cultural personality as well. Just as we discover the gospel in a different way through Christians from other cultures who come to us, so our own individual and cultural perspective on the gospel can be a source of discovery for those who live in other countries and cultures. This invites freedom in the Spirit to be who one truly is, for, as St. Irenaeus declared, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.” As we oscillate between critical self-examination and joyful freedom, we can trust that our hearers and co-workers will be able through the Spirit to discern the difference between real gospel and cultural baggage. And, in fact, they usually do!

“Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion,” wrote Max Warren, “is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More serious still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival.”

From Horizons of Mission by Titus Presler, volume 11 of The New Church’s Teaching Series (Cambridge, Mass.: Cowley Publications, 2001).

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