Friday, January 6, 2012

Separated Siblings

Image from iNetGiant

Standing in line at Sam's yesterday, we met a very friendly older gentleman who likes to joke around & hand out soft peppermint candies. His cap displayed his Tide pride, & his words very quickly showed him to be a church-going man. Unfortunately, they also very quickly revealed his belief that black people & white people just should not mix, especially when it comes to church.

Almost a year ago, a tornado ripped through our city, demolishing or severely damaging everything in its path. One of those severely damaged buildings was a local church that has shared our church's building ever since. That church was located in what a lot of people consider to be a "not-so-nice" part of town. But this church loves their neighborhood & have a strong desire to return. Not just to get back to their building, but to get back to ministering to the people surrounding that building. The so-called "not-so-nice" people.

This gentleman seriously disagrees with the passion of these fellow believers, saying that they should just tear down that church & move to a "nicer" part of town. I wish I were quicker on the draw. If I were, I would have wanted to know what makes another part of town "nicer"? Is it the cars people drive or the homes they live in? Is it the clothes they wear or the color of their skin? I would have asked him if he thought the people in the "not-so-nice" part of town needed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, too. Don't they need the church to be Christ's hands & feet to them just as much as the people in Mexico, India, or Romania? Why is it perfectly permissible to have mission trips to foreign countries while neglecting the people in our own backyards? Are we only supposed to have white churches in white parts of town & black churches in black parts of town? Doesn't Galatians 3:18 say that we are all "one in Christ"? How exactly do you separate "one" without ripping it apart? Being saved by Christ eradicated the division between Jews & Greeks; is His blood not strong enough to do the same for blacks & whites? Is it not a denial of our brotherhood in Christ - where all Christians are children of God & co-heirs with Christ regardless of our skin color - to say that we must worship separately in our own sections of town? Does advocating & adhering to such a policy really paint an accurate picture of the body of Christ? Is there going to be a white heaven & a black heaven, & nary the two shall meet? Or will heaven be a glorious mixture of "red & yellow, black & white", all worshipping God together before His majestic throne? Wouldn't it be simply beautiful for our churches to be a picture to the world of what heaven will be like? All nations, tribes, & tongues - even from separate parts of town - bowing before God's throne & bringing Him praise together! If I were quicker on the draw, that's what I would have liked to know.