How diverse is your church? Your Chi Alpha chapter? Your marketplace Bible study? Have you considered that others in the Body of Christ see you as one who is different, yet they accept you?
I love the story of the United States. Our history is a rich narrative where so many people came together in spite of incredible diversity to forge an uncommon commonality. Out of many, one. People from really different racial, ethnic, language, religious, and political backgrounds connected in a process our Founding Fathers envisioned to ultimately create the most powerful, influential, prosperous, generous, freest and God-honoring country in the world.
Many skeptics mused it could not happen. There was too much difference, too many variables, and too much ground to be overcome to offer dignity and equality for all men and women, religious freedom, opportunity for advancement, and the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
But those very differences and qualities have been our strength.
During the American Revolution, British soldiers scoffed at the American “soldiers” they encountered: common laborers like farmers, butchers, bakers, shoemakers, and blacksmiths. The Brits were convinced they would win simply by showing up as British gentlemen-soldiers.
Hitler had similar sentiments during World War 2. He believed he was destined for global leadership and dominance. The Nazi’s could not fail because the Allied army had been “infected” with Jews, blacks, and all sort of “inferior” human beings. Hitler told his aides the Americans would never defeat his “Thousand-Year Reich” because they were a “mongrel” people. He mistakenly believed the strength and purity of the master race was sure to triumph because they would roll over the “scum of creation,” as he referred to us and our allies.
Read Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16.
I think the Church is in some ways just like the United States of America, but better. Its members are men and women from every nation, people group, culture, socio-economic layer, age group, and career path. Each and every person decided on their own to put their faith, hope, and trust in Jesus at the foot of His cross. This includes children and senior citizens, very rich and very poor, illiterate and highly educated, and every category of human being you could imagine.
The Church welcomes all who believe: athletes, bartenders, coaches, entertainers, diplomats, politicians, prisoners, prime ministers, kings, presidents, saleswomen, programmers, gamers, doctors, dropouts, drop-ins, single, married, broken, neutralized, vandalized…from every part of the world. In the two thousand years since the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Church, in spite of its diversity, its tensions, its humanity, marches on. In spite of cultural chaos and decay, strident and severe opposition, the Church Jesus purchased marches on.
Hitler’s vision of a Thousand-Year reign crashed and burned. Just as America is not perfect, the Church has problems. Yet while America may be forgotten a 1000 years from now, the Church, the Body of Christ, will prevail because Jesus said it would, even in spite of the gates of hell.
Live communally. What can you do to become more aware of believers in other cultures and nations? God calls His people to unity in one Body, not uniformity. Do your part as best you can.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz