Saturday, February 23, 2013

Because We Aren't the Same

I bristle. 

When I think of just having an all-white church, or a church that exists for one section of the population, I cringe.  I understand in each country there may be some variation of the body, speaking different languages, and holding to their own unique cultural traditions.  But here within the United States, were we really meant to divide ourselves by race, by social status, by income?  What if instead we chose to be the body in the neighborhood we existed in?  What if we chose to embrace those very different from ourselves in the name of Christ?  What if we chose to worship together simply because of the bond we have in Christ, and not because we had a safe church with programs for the kids and teenagers?  Because the church is about people, not programs.  How do we get that mixed up?

We sat, in that auditorium that filled 800-ish people.  We listened to him speak.  We saw the French African choir sing, and then the Phillipino choir.  Next the gentleman from Hong Kong gave a testimony.  Tears ran down her cheeks for joy as she sang next to me in English.  But she was not from my country.  The Koreans offered a song of praise, and the Chinese followed with their own.   I think 'this, this is a little piece of Heaven here on earth.'

We come back to America and learn that we are somewhat cultural misfits.  This idea of faith separates instead of unites.  After all, shouldn't the Spanish speakers have their church, and the African Americans have their church?  But the Jesus I know is color blind.  I don't think He sees us as 'red, brown, yellow, black and white'.   We refer to people by their ethnicity and see the color of their skin instead of seeing them as souls.  We will never understand people until we see them as people, and seek to understand cultures different from our own. 

Yet, she is still His body.  She is still the church. I can't make this right with my one voice.  But someday, He will.  He will call us to Himself and every tongue, tribe and nation will worship Him.  But for today, I wish for that little piece of Heaven on earth that whispers, "Sister, I love you.  Brother, you are a friend," in the language of the heart, love.

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