Monday, January 16, 2012

I Love My Non-Segregated, Multicultural Church

"They tell me that there is more integration in the entertaining world and other secular agencies than there is in the Christian church. How appalling that is."       MLK, Jr., November 1956, in Paul’s Letter to American Christians.

 "Children, come on up here. It's time for your message," my husband announces, as he moves to the front of the stage to sit down with all the little ones...

Realize that I'm not normally a numbers person; but yesterday, as I was marveling once again at how having a close-knit, multicultural church family is a little taste of heaven, I counted... 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 ...

I don't know the exact racial make-up of our church, but among those who are old enough or still feel young enough to come down for the children's sermon, the stats are equal between two races at least. Seven who are African American, seven who are bi-racial, and seven who are of anglo descent -- all sitting together as one body of tiny believers, innocent and unaware of the racial tensions experienced by the generations before them.

Though their awareness will increase as they get older; may their innocence and inexperience endure!

I wish more Christians could/would be a part of a church like ours. It truly is a special place to be. I walk in to hugs from Pam, Esther, Martin, Amma, and many others. My children play with Kofi, Nana-Yaw, Michael, and Daniel. I meet with Delmy for coffee each week, as she helps me cope and adjust to the loneliness and the cold climate she struggled with when she moved here, and that we're now enduring together.

We all have dinner at each others homes and compare notes about our work, our families, our children, our church -- all the experiences we have in common. We talk about the intricacies of our unique cultures and the similarities/differences in the ways we grew up.

We share what God has done and is doing in our lives. We share our joys and we share our struggles. We pray together -- at times wiping away tears. We hug goodbye until next time, and hope that next time is very soon.

The time is sweet. Awkwardness quickly fades. Christ's love prevails. And in our little corner of the world, for a precious few moments, the dream inches that much closer to reality...

p.s. Hat tip to Ed Stetzer for highlighting the speech from which I grabbed that quote.