We Work Together, but We Don’t Worship Together
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Revelations 7: 9 -10 NIV
Last week I had the opportunity to visit a ministry that I admire and respect. It was an event to recognize their supporters and donors, of which I am one. However, something struck me as I sat and enjoyed the update on the ministry. I was the only person of color in the room. The only one who was not white (this wasn’t the first time I had experienced something as this in a ministry setting). And I would be wrong to say that it didn’t bother me. Not in the way you may think (I got over being the only person of color in a room back in college); what bothered me was the one place we shouldn’t be segregated – the church – we are. The quote is true that the most segregated hour in America is on Sunday morning. I work with a diverse group of individuals (Anglo, Mexican, and African-American), but I do not worship with the same. Not to the extent that I should. Do you?
Although many things on earth are not reflective of heaven, it became apparent to me that night just how far off the church is as a reflection of heaven when it comes to unity and diversity. When John was “caught up” to see heaven, the heaven he witnessed was full of people of every race and every nation on earth. Every tongue was represented in heaven praising and worshipping Christ together. We have love for the same Christ, but do we go far enough in tearing down the silos of race that have been constructed throughout our history? I don’t believe that we do and change cannot happen by happenstance. We must be deliberate in how we approach ministry, the church, and our interactions if we want to work towards becoming a true reflection of heaven. And such is the lesson I learned last week which gave me the courage to bring light to not only what I saw, but what I felt through this devotion and by speaking to one of those ministry leaders. It was a difficult conversation to be had. Yet, so often we allow injustice to prevail because we fail to speak. And right now, we perpetrate the injustice every Sunday before the Lord of Lords; King of Kings. We can do better.
If we study the bible together, worship together, pray together in a more unified and diverse manner we as Christians will become what we are supposed to become. Light in darkness and the salt of the earth. We lead by example.
So, how exactly does doing better look? It means we must visit churches that don’t look like us. We must worship with people that don’t look like us. We must pray to have unity and diversity in all of our ministries and on every level. So will you join me? Will you invite someone that doesn’t look like you to worship with you? Will you move beyond your comfort zone and be deliberate about reaching out and interacting with Christians of all races, all backgrounds, and all types consistently?
Heaven will be full of people we may not expect and not full of people we may expect. That’s the beauty about the God we serve and the heaven we will one day call home.
Walk with Him this week,
Shaniqua & the Great Is Team