Sunday, October 29, 2006

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. At Hometown Friends Church the message and open worship always comes after singing. I wonder how it would work to reverse the order and let music take the heat when some part of the service takes extra time.

The message title is “Jesus People . . . Practicing Embracing Others.” My first impulse is to wonder if the pastor was going to make us hug each other, but I realize he’s going to go for something with deeper meaning. He used the biblical passage from Colossians 3:11: “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are . . . [brilliant or simple, rich or poor, ugly or gorgeous, Republican or Democrat, brand name or generic] Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”

No mention was made that the Hometown Friends Church umbrella includes a Hispanic congregation and that most in the room would feel awkward worshiping with them and they would feel out of place with us.

I’m quickly jumping back to the music at the first of the service. When I saw “I Need Jesus” in the worship schedule, I could hear the soloist singing and anticipated that segment of the service. It also made me think of her singing, “Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish, Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel. Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”


Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

Yeah, the pastor wrote a whole lot that got cut.

Like how the second step to embrace, after opening the arms to indicate willingness, is to wait. Wait for the other to decide whether they want the embrace, because if you don't wait, you've committed an injustice by bearhugging an unwilling person.

I for one would love to wrestle through the hard things of what it looks like to be more connected with the Hispanic congregation. At this point, though, we need to honor their stated desire for independence.

I'd sure like to have more examples based in reality than my theoretical ones about diversity.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Dan McCracken said...

If I could choose between a Spanish class or a class that taught how to not be condescending, I think it would be more important for me to take the latter.

I should have put the comment about the Hispanic congregation in a more introspective context.

12:46 PM  

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