For the past year-and-a-half, one way or another, I have been preaching consistently that the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about erasing boundaries between “us” and “them.” First and foremost, this means that in the person of Jesus Christ, God had eradicated the barrier between us and Him.
But, of course, the gospel doesn’t end there. Our trust in God’s grace, means that we can have the courage to press through other boundaries as well. This is why Jesus could say with confidence to “love our enemies,” and also why Paul could write boldly that “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.”
This is precisely how the gospel brings peace, or shalom, to our world in a tangible way. It helps us build peace with others by pushing through boundaries of fear, suspicion, and hatred. That’s why one of my favorite saying is, “When you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fence.”
Today I am inviting you to join with me as we come to an even “bigger table” with those in our community who are often treated with fear, suspicion, and hatred: our muslim neighbors.
With the help of your fellow congregant Rick Love, who leads Peace Catalyst, I recently had lunch with Sheik Yasser Qassim from Masjid Al-ittehad in Vista, CA. The Sheik (which means “scholar”) has graciously invited the congregation at First Christian Church of Oceanside to come to his mosque for a “Love Your Neighbor Dinner” on Saturday August 5th at 6 PM.
At this dinner, the Sheik and I will each spend time teaching about what it means to “Love Your Neighbor” from our respective faith traditions. Then we will all enjoy a fabulous meal together provided by the good people at Masjid Al-ittehad.
This is an incredible opportunity for FCC to build more bridges of peace by embodying the good news we so enthusiastically profess.
Will you join me? I would love to have as many people as possible so we can demonstrate our serious commitment to building bridges of peace in our community. The Sheik and his congregants are providing the food at no cost, but we must RSVP so they know how much food to make. If you can join me, please RSVP below.
Jason Coker, Pastor