So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:5).
We all know it intellectually, but somehow it becomes lost in our theological memories: The Body of Christ goes far beyond us and our tribe. In fact for American Christians, the vast majority of the Body of Christ isn’t like us. We are the minority.
I was reminded of that again as I sat in a church full of over 500 people – and I was the only one who didn’t speak the language fluently, the only one who couldn’t read out of the French Bible, the only one who didn’t understand the announcements, the only one who struggled to sing the familiar hymns, the only one who needed a translator just to communicate beyond simple greetings, the only one who looked – well like me, a blan (white person, maybe even a foreigner. I’ve know African Americans who were called blan in Haiti!).
The Body of Christ is vast and
diverse beyond our wildest
imagination. Not only here and now,
but someday there and for eternity.
And I was happy to be there, among brothers and sisters in Christ. And yes among friends.
It happened again as I drove home from the service with my friend and translator. We decided to stop in a small village to greet the pastor who has been a friend for many years. We didn’t know that they were celebrating the 80th year of their church and the (loooooong) service was still in progress. Before we could make a graceful get-a-way, the pastor spotted us through the front doors of the church as we stood in the road debating what to do and he wouldn’t let us go until we greeted the church.
It happened again last night as I participated in an open air evangelistic service in the city where hundreds of people gathered to sing and listen to the gospel message.
I used to feel somewhat uneasy being the only one who was different. The one who stood out like a sore thumb as the expression goes. But somehow I felt completely at ease in each of these situations.
That’s because I wasn’t just among friends, I was with the family – the Family of God.
Until you have been in the minority (in these cases the extreme minority), you probably think (unconsciously perhaps) that heaven is going to be filled with people just like you. If you are from a first world country – guess again.
The Body of Christ is vast and diverse beyond our wildest imagination. Not only here and now, but someday there and for eternity.
The old Gaither song has it right: I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Stay in the Word