9 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 in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10 NIV)
There is hardly a day that goes by that we don’t read in newspapers or magazines, or hear on the evening news about some kind of racial tension being discussed. Those in the media who are in charge of disseminating information all across our land seem to like to stir things up rather than use their power and influence to calm troubled waters. There is tension among people, but let’s not limit it to racial tension. Wherever there are people you will find tension, animosity, jealousy, bitterness, and the like. The rich are pitted against the poor. The educated look down their noses at the uneducated. Black, brown, red, yellow, and white look with suspicion on anyone who is different because you know how “They” are, right? The sad reality is that it appears that the tension and division will never be solved or resolved. Educators and Social Scientist have tried their best, but their best hasn’t proven to be good enough.
Set against this backdrop of division, suspicion, and tension I went to church on Sunday…Resurrection Sunday. I walked into a sanctuary filled with folks of every shade. Some of those folks walked to church because they don’t have a car. Others drove to church in cars that cost more than some of our member’s homes. There were folks with a Ph.D. and others who are working to get their G.E.D. There were mommas raising their kids with nobody to help them but the Lord and there were families, like Ward and June, Wally and “the Beav” –and they were all sitting on the same pew together. There were successful business owners and recent parolees lifting their voices together. There were young enthusiastic kids and senior citizens whose days are drawing to a close and they were bowing their heads together in prayer. All of the differences that were present in our sanctuary on Sunday morning were irrelevant. They didn’t matter one bit because we had come together for a reason far beyond the things that separate. We had come to worship the One who died to unite us all. What a privilege it is to get together with folks who are different than me and yet we are brothers and sisters.