Of course, I also need to ask myself if I am helping to bring this vision to reality. Am I open to sharing a home with believers of other faiths? Can I embrace the idea that whether we know it or not we are all pilgrims on the same spiritual journey, and have the same kind of compassion and respect for others that I expect them to extend towards me?In today’s Gospel reading, a woman approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter. Jesus’ disciples are put off by the request. “Send her away,” they say, “for she keeps calling out to us.” Jesus points out that he first must care for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman persists, saying she wants only “scraps from the table.” “O woman,” Jesus responds, “great is your faith,” and her daughter is healed.We are able to share the presence and power of God. There is no reason for us to keep it from others, or to assume that we have exhausted all channels to receive God’s grace.Great is your faith. The disciples want to send the outsider away. But the woman sees the love and compassion of Jesus and wants to connect. She sees beyond the barriers that have been erected and asks for God’s compassion and healing from Christ. Her faith is indeed great.I’d like to think my faith is that great as well. Not only do I want to be able to recognize and welcome seekers who are different than me, but I also want to be able to recognize and experience the love of God when it is present outside of my normal expectations. Unfortunately, many feel that they are not welcome in our spiritual communities. The Christian faith and other religions are often depicted as exclusive, judgmental organizations. Unfortunately, the loudest voices are often heard, and the loudest religious voices in the media are generally critical of some person, group, idea or trend. They are not inviting everyone to come and enjoy the unconditional love of God. Yet that is the greatest gift we have received and that we can share. We are included in God’s house of prayer for all people. We are able to share the presence and power of God. There is no reason for us to keep it from others, or to assume that we have exhausted all channels to receive God’s grace. We can have greater faith — faith that God is bigger than our boundaries, welcoming all to God’s house of prayer.Bill Peatman writes from Napa. He may be reached at [email protected]