God sends us signs to remind us that HE is in charge, and I'm really glad that He is. If i was in charge, I'm sure I'd goof things up. :D
This past Sunday, we went to church twice.
During the morning, we went to a local church that we attend fairly regularly. Our pastor moved away last week, so we were greeted by an interim pastor this morning. The choir sang a beautiful song, we joined in with hymns. Then the pastor delivered an eloquent message telling us of God's love. I left feeling uplifted.
That evening, we accompanied our neighbor to her church to listen to some Christmas music. The choir processed in, carrying lighted candles. I loved the singing and the scriptures -- all about the Advent Season. A couple of solos filled my heart with such joy -- and the pastor's message about the Gift of God's Son caused my skin to tingle.
In the morning service, everyone was white.
In the evening service, all but 5 people there were African American.
It strikes me, over and over, about how segregated our worship is.
We took communion in the evening. We followed exactly the same rituals, we spoke the same words, we tasted the same bread and wine that I've had over and over my whole life. And once again I found myself thinking -- WE WORSHIP THE SAME GOD, yet why do we still seem to have to do it separately? I've heard it said that 11:00 am Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. It really bothers me that we dont seem to be able to bridge the gap on Sunday mornings.
As I talked with some ladies after the service tonight, one of them mentioned that she really enjoyed joint services, shared with others of different denominations.
I agreed with her -- in our splintered, fractured society there needs to be a place where folks can come together for healing. Where better than church to begin learning to get along together?
There's so much strife in our world. So much work that the enemy does to try to undermine the work and purposes that God has planned. It gets frustrating, as a follower of Christ, to be body-slammed into prejudices, hatefulness, lies, and evil.
But the Bible gives us encouragement and reminders:
John 16: 33 -- "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote a song with lyrics that remind me of this verse. I especially like the last verse that goes:
In this world there's a whole lot of cold.In this world there's a whole lot of blame.
In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings.
There's a star on the far horizon, rising bright in an azure sky.
For the rest of the time that you're given, why walk when you can fly?
We each have to face troubles; we each suffer pain, we all have to face issues that we don't understand. But God ultimately has a plan for us, we do have a "soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings."
So why do we continue to walk (apart) when we could fly (together)?
Looking for that Silver Lining....