I was recently part of an Inter Faith delegation of National Faith/Church leaders that gathered at Parliament Hill. Our task was to meet with federal political party leaders - Liberals, Bloc Quebecois, NDP, and Conservatives - to urge the honouring of Canada's commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals.
After being ushered into the stately room we were soon being introduced to various MP's and their Aides. I thrust out my hand and identified myself as the General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada.
"Mennonites," said the MP with a broad smile, "I always have time for Mennonites".
His statement caused a rush of two emotions. The immediate emotion was pride, a natural response to affirmation. But that was quickly pushed aside by a strong sense of heavy responsibility.
I realized that this affirmation was not a result of anything I had done. Rather it was the result of some prior experience. Either a person or several people had similarly identified themselves as Mennonites to this MP before. It was their integrity that obviously left a positive impression, and now I bore the responsibility to carry on that positive impression.
I smiled and returned his hearty handshake. And wondered whose testimony I must now support.
The experience reminded me of a common responsibility we all carry as God's People. As the MP continued around the circle, I silently prayed that my life too would require others to support a positive impression.