As a child, when I visited relatives, I was expected to go to their church and to participate in their practices. As I began to claim my own faith, I had to learn how to disagree respectfully with some family members about certain practices, even as I tried to understand the importance of these practices for their faith.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.
Ephesians 4:4–6a (NIV)
Samantha and her family
As I grew older, I realized that although I respected all my family members’ beliefs, what truly mattered was that we were all Christians who wanted to be faithful to God. We all believed that through God, anything was possible and that to fulfill the purpose for our lives, God must be a part of it. God was the center of my family, so the ways we practiced our faith were less important than each of us choosing to live for God. I am grateful that my family has learned to set aside the denominational differences
and to enjoy life with God together.
JOURNAL: Write about a time you visited a new church. What rituals or practices were unfamiliar to you? What did you learn about God and about your own tradition from this experience?