This past Sunday I attented a community event in Macon, GA called Second Sunday. Basically it’s an event geared toward building community through entertaining. It was my first Second Sunday and I must say it was a great time. We sat in lawn chairs and on blankets and ate picnics and enjoyed music.
Somewhere around the cover band’s rendition of Sittin on the Bay I happened to look around and scan the crowd. To my amazement I noticed something very unique. In this crowd of folks who were busy talking and singing and dancing I noticed something else present. Thhis crowd was made up of young people, old people, middle-age people, black people, white people, rich, poor, in-between, gay, and straight. Looking around we looked like the most hodge-podge group ever assembled. And yet, there were no evident signs of ill will, malice, or even hatred. It was just a group of people enjoying a 90 degree evening filled with music, food, and community.
It made me wonder: why doesn’t the church look more like this sometimes? Why do we seem so homogenous when we worship and yet when it comes to living life in the greater community many of us are able to exist and even thrive in situations where the diversity is as normal as 90 degree heat at 7pm? If God is truly God and Christ died for any and all then why is it we seem to only align ourselves as communities of faith along seemingly homogenous lines? If we look close enough I think we might actually find we share more in common than we think. We all experience pain and heartache. We all need to be loved. We all do better when a part of a community than if we were left to our own solitary devices. And, if we believe in the Gospel we say we do, we all need the life-giving and life-transforming love of a God who knows exactly how we feel. So why not the church be the place where all can find this abundant life?
I’m not really sure where to go or what to do about this. I wish we could work to create churches where all people find a place and a home no matter what superficial characteristics might seem to make them different. But I just don’t know how to help make this happen. What I do know is, somewhere along the final chorus of a familiar Otis Redding hit I looked around and I think I caught a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.