An Unusual Sunday Morning
Imagine it’s Sunday morning. You’re in your car, on your way to church. It’s a beautiful fall morning. It’s cool and crisp but the sun is shining and the sky is clear.
As you pull up to the church, you notice an unfamiliar vehicle in your usual parking spot. But that’s okay; you left early enough that you see another parking spot at the end of the row.
That is, until someone pulls into the spot before you get a chance. You don’t recognize the people in the vehicle either. It’s an Asian family that you’ve never seen in church before.
They smile and wave, seemingly very excited to be there.
“Well, a new family in church is a great thing!” You comment to yourself.
But then you notice that all the parking at the church has been taken.
“Why are the spots taken?” You wonder.
You shrug it off and head down the street to find a parking spot. After all, the weather’s nice, so a little walk would do you some good. You walk back up the street, then climb the steps of the church.
Finally At the Church
As your walk through the front doors of the church, the foyer is full; too full actually. You find it difficult to navigate to the side of the foyer to hang up your coat. Ahead of you, you hear a familiar voice. It’s your regular greeter.
“Good morning! How are you today? Welcome, welcome! Come on in!”
He’s shaking a row of hands, many of them belonging to unfamiliar faces. You see the Asian couple that arrived just before you. They wave at you again, as they take their kids off to Children’s Ministry.
As you shuffle forward, you also notice a new Middle Eastern couple.
The thought passes through your mind, “Maybe they’re from Syria?”
Just then the greeter says, “Good Morning!” and welcomes you into the service.
Heading Down the Aisle
You walk towards your seat. You’re usually in your seat by now, but with the small parking mishap and the number of people in attendance, the Worship Team has already taken the stage and the service is about to start. You’re a few feet from your seat.
Just then the Worship Leader announces, “Welcome! Please take a few moments to great those around you.”
As you reach your seat, everyone stands. You’re startled as you’re immediately met with an East Indian family who you’ve never seen before. The husband holds out his hand to greet you.
In a thick accent he says, “Good morning, my name is Jagpal Singh and this is my wife, Balwinder. We’re new to the city and this is our first time in your church.”
Sitting In Your Seat
This family is in your row. This man is in your seat. These are the seats that you’re family has been sitting in for years, maybe even decades. You look around and all the other seats in the church are filled as well. Standing room only.
What do you do? What do you say? How would you react if this happened to you in the next couple of weeks?
If this story causes us anxiety, then God has some work to do in our hearts. We need to ask God to change our perspectives.
The Western World Is Changing
Your nation is changing. Your city or town is changing. And assumptions can get us into trouble. Furthermore, assumptions can prevent us from effectively sharing the Gospel.
In this day and age, skin colour is no longer the best indicator of where a person is from. In 2015 culture, we have 1st, 2nd and even 3rd generations living among us, with diverse racial backgrounds. Maybe you’re one of them?
That being said, we can’t ignore the numerous immigrants and refugees that are making their way to our countries each and every day. Your nation is changing. Your town or city is changing.
Global missions are coming to a neighbourhood near you.
Every Nation, Tribe & Tongue
Scripture teaches us that salvation is available to people from every nation, tribe and tongue. Heaven will be made up of people from every nation, tribe and tongue (Rev. 7:9). So we might as well get used to it here on earth.
The church should be made up of people from every nation, tribe and tongue.
Maybe you’re reading this today and you’ve been struggling accepting a neighbour or coworker because of their colour, race or cultural background? Now’s the time to give that struggle to Christ. He wants to change your heart condition.
Maybe you’re reading this today and you have been abused or mistreated because of your colour, race or cultural background? Maybe you’re angry because of what’s been done to you, and perhaps rightfully so? Christ wants you to cast that pain and anger on Him.
Unity of the Body in this day and age, means unity of every nation, tribe and tongue.
Can I get your feedback?
Think about your neighbourhood. What races or nationalities are represented? Now think about your church. What races or nationalities are represented in your congregation?