“Because . . . I am a better person.”
On a horrible, weather-delayed flight from Chicago to Baltimore recently, I sat next to a man from India – a dentist. He was coming to Baltimore to visit his son.
When the man from India asked what I did for a living and I told him, he was very excited. “Oh,” he said, “a holy man. You must pray and meditate a great deal.” I told him I tried to be faithful in these things.
Then he began to tell me about his religious life. He was from near Delhi, he said, and his temple was the finest anywhere. The swami was a great man, well known and very busy, he said, but also eager to speak to anyone. “Whenever you talk to him, he really helps you,” said the dentist. “Any time of the night or day you come to my temple there are always people meditating,” he said “They are glad to see you, even if you stranger.
“Because I am a Hindu, I am a better person,” said the dentist. And he did in fact seem to be the only person on the plane who wasn’t muttering about how awful the trip was and about how United Airlines should be banned from interstate commerce.
I found the whole experience to be challenging and extraordinarily humbling. I usually have tried to avoid talking to strangers when I travel, but I am done with that. I have been praying lately that I can learn to be as faithful in speaking for Jesus Christ as this man from India was in speaking to me about Krishna.
I hope you have a wonderful summer, that you have the chance to rest and ponder the things that really matter to you. I hope you have the chance to tell some stranger that because you are a Christian, you are a better person. I hope that Jesus Christ is raised up and praised among us always, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.
Blessings in Jesus’ name,
The Rev. Richard H. Graham
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America