Over Thanksgiving break, I had the rare opportunity to visit Ferguson for a day and night, where I joined one of the numerous peaceful protests against police brutality led by civilians each day. But what I want to talk about right now doesn’t so much concern the events occurring in Ferguson as it does concern something that struck me while I was glancing around the circle of us protestors who were linking arms and praying (yes, I peeked) before the protest. This thing stood out to me so clearly that I have not been able to since shake it off, and that is this: there is something very wrong with the lack of love, support, and identifying going on between members of the body of Christ. Now, I know the term “body of Christ” is an idea usually thrown around where we Christians grudgingly agree that even though other denominations are kind of weird and not quite as correct as ours, God still loves them and therefore they are probably the toenail or the nose hair part of the body, whereas we are the brain and eyes and the muscles, or something along that line…but really, to identify ourselves as a part of the body means we are all claiming to have the Holy Spirit within us, and belong to the body/family of others who hold the same spirit. We refer to ourselves as God’s sons and daughters because that’s what He refers to us as when we proclaim our faith in his son. So, then, why is it that most of us more quickly identify ourselves with our native ethnic group than we do as being brothers and sisters of other believers in Christ? We’d feel more comfortable and connected with a stranger who shared the same skin color with us than we would with another stranger who we knew to be believer in Christ but had different skin color and was from a different culture than our own. Why?
Now, I know it is natural to feel most comfortable with those who look like you that you have been raised around—especially if you have generally always lived around other people of your same race. But, I would argue that we have often failed to love one another as Christ has loves us–just as he has commanded–when it comes to loving other believers outside our race and culture. Cause sure, we will care for those in our own community—those within our same race, who look like us and sound like us and live like us and worship like us. But what about other believers who look not only different from us but whose appearance and culture seem “foreign” to us? That spirit within them is the very spirit residing within us; it is the only reason we both are able to call God “father”. When God looks down on earth and sees the millions of those who believe him Him, He does not separate them in his mind: black and white, Chinese and Mexican, Reformed or Catholic. He sees us as his creation being restored to Him by His sacred spirit. We are, literally and spiritually, brothers and sisters–and yet we do not act like it. Why?