"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It's not easy being blue

I’m reading a new book entitled “Blue Jesus” (by Tom Gardner) that is based upon the blue people of the Appalachian region, including north Georgia. These were actual people who had a blue tint to their skin due to the inability for their blood to maintain a certain level of oxygen. My mother even remembers going by a home in Atlanta during her childhood years to see the blue baby sitting out on the front porch and has talked about it often since this book was published. The book storyline is not as important here as the fact that at one time another culture existed in our country where people were defined by the color of their skin.
In our church service this week, the children were shown a cookie cutter design of a boy and another of a girl. They were reminded that in Genesis God created male and female and He was pleased with the creation. The lesson continued with the fact that some people have fair hued skin, some have an olive hue, some with darker hues, and now we learn some with a blue tint. The children were urged as they begin another school year to remember that God made everyone just as they are, just as He wanted to, and He is still pleased with the result.
Throughout history, we have judged other people by such superficial items as the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the neighborhoods in which they live, and the friends they have. Now here we are in 2009, and even though great strides have been made, we are still far from the goal of acceptance of all. I sincerely wonder why this is so difficult. Especially disturbing to me is why this is still so difficult for the Church? Jesus did not look at someone’s bank statement from The Jerusalem National Bank, what model their cart and mule were, or what brand name was on their robes and sandals. He didn’t even care on which side of the Jordan River you lived or if you belonged to a country club in the suburbs. Do you remember when Jesus reached out and helped the Samaritan lady whose culture was literally despised by the Jewish race to which He belonged? This is the example expected from us today, His Church.
His message is simple. “Love God.” “Love each other.” “Do the right thing.” “Tell others.” How can we do this if we isolate ourselves in our own little worlds and avoid those who might be a smidge different than us? I am fortunate to be in a church that is a true multi-cultural, multi-generational church. We have a ministerial staff that leads the congregation in celebrating the cultural diversities in the community and extends a warm welcoming hand to all who come to hear the Word and to worship. They not only reach out to the local communities, but also have ongoing ministries in several countries around the world. In the words of a dear old grandmother, “those people there just do good.”
In the book of Acts, Peter speaks about Jesus travelling from village to village doing good and that is our role as God’s people. It isn’t so hard, as long as you don’t think about it. Thinking is what gets us in trouble. Just rely on your faith in God and His desire for all people then go with it. To use the line Patrick Swayze said so eloquently in Roadhouse, “Just be nice.” Let’s all give it a try sometime this week.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.