1 Corinthians 12:12-30 ESV For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. ...
It has been almost three years since our move. Three years, a time span that is, by all counts, a short amount of time, yet there are days it feels like much more. While I know this has been the right move for our family, I would be lying if I said I did not miss our old home. More specifically, I miss our old church. Lately, I have found myself trying to discover why I have yet to feel connected here.
While trying to sort through some of what I have been thinking, I began discussing this topic with my husband last night.
Through everything I said, two things stood out. First and foremost, I miss the diversity. Our community, the city as a whole here is primarily white. While that is not inherently a negative, I long for the differing cultures, skin colors, and styles that we were privy to in Tennessee. I want our child to grow up appreciating others, the tones of their skin, their style of speech, and the ways they worship Christ. I do not like that here, in this dusty little town, so many look, speak and act the same. Yet, we are just like the vast majority, it should be comfortable and easy, but it is not. My heart often aches for the beauty that came from being a part of a multicultural church. While I miss the music too, but more importantly, I miss knowing that "all are welcome here."
While both places of worship place a high priority on missionary work, I find myself thinking our current home is prone to get lost in thinking missionaries are only needed on the other side of foreign borders. We, the lighter skinned, must save humanity! But what about our neighbors? What about the facade they live behind? What I heard before was that the mission field begins in the home, in our neighborhoods, in our communities. If we cannot serve the least of these, who are merely hiding behind all of their material goods, how will we serve those with little?
As my friend Sara recently wrote:
There’s a gap that needs to be bridged in the world. There is a disconnect between the people who have and the people who have not. Right now, in many ways, the bridge across that gap is called the US government. The “haves” pay taxes so the “have nots” can have government programs that help them. But WHAT IF… the church was the bridge? What if we wanted to give?
What if suburbia was so moved by the gospel … so moved by grace, God’s unmerited favor on our lives … that we began to give back to Him what was already His. (Desparate Mission Fields: Wisteria Lane)A part of the issue is that I was serving there; I was both being fed and feeding others, and I have yet to do the same here. I do not feel useful for the kingdom here. In this little town, in the place that is well established, I have not broken through the lines. While the people are kind, and there are many honestly loving and gracious lives of which I am grateful to know, I am still the stranger.
I am having trouble relating to a place that is so much like me. The chains of similarity are smothering, the bonds of familiarity are nerve racking. I long for diversity, for differences, for the interactions that bring about differing opinions, backgrounds and lessons.
While discussing the problem was good, determining the solution was better. We will walk where we believe God is leading us. We will rejoice in being here, we will seek to find the heart of the people here. We will watch and listen and learn how to serve, here, where we are, today.
Our former pastor once said we would be "taking the lesson of diversity to west Texas." I laughed as I wondered how exactly we would do that seeing as how we do not add to the diversity here. Now I am beginning to wonder if it's the diversity of our hearts, all pointed to our heavenly Father, that we are to be sharing. May we rejoice in the place God has us now, in the place we were and the lessons we learned. May we seek to serve, even in suburbia.