Now just imagine on this Sunday you are headed to worship service where you will join with fellow worshipers who have similar beliefs and convictions. You open the door and you are now taken aback to the pre-civil rights era. More than 95 percent of the congregation is of one ethnicity and one race. Now is this how Jesus wanted us to worship him in spirit and in truth? It is a shame to say that in the year of our Lord 2017, the church is the most segregated place in America.
When I study the writings of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the church at Galatia, I am certain that is was not the Lord’s intent for us to come together all week long and then separate when we worship Him. In Galatians 3:26-29 Paul writes, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
I don’t think that we intentionally or purposely separate when we go to worship. I understand that we become comfortable with our lifelong association with a certain building. It is where we have always served God, and it is hard to change that, but we must be conscious of the fact that the church should promote diversity. As the scripture said, “We are all one in Christ.”
We can rest assured that our heavenly reward will be based on our obedience to God’s word and nothing else. There will only be one group of people, and they will be the children of God.
For about 10 years or more, there has been an annual fellowship between several local churches of Christ and on that day, we all come together in one place, singing, praying, preaching and, oh yes, eating. It is truly a time of understanding our differences but paying closer attention to how we are so much alike. I applaud the brethren who had the courage to have a vision of unity and to implement that idea. It is now time that all Christians must stand together and denounce all type of hatred, bigotry, prejudice and racism. We must know that the first tenant of Christianity is love. The first commandment is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor like yourself. If we are all one in Christ, then we are obligated to make sure we treat each other like the brothers and sisters we are. After all, we have the same Father.
In closing, I will leave each of us with a memory verse in Colossians 3:11, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
I ask each Christian reader, Does this describe the members where I attend?
Ronald A. McCarver is associate minister of Church of Christ at Bellwood in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.