October 11, 2017

Let's just say I'm not a fan of discomfort. I generally avoid things and situations that are uncomfortable: going to a party where I don't know anyone, having that conversation, getting a colonoscopy. Not a fan. Having a close look at myself, my childhood, my parents – this is uncomfortable.  This is hard.

I apparently make an exception for spicy food.  And, come to think of it, going to church.

I do not "fit in" at church. Most members are Asian; I am not. Most members are married; I am not. Most members grew up as children of immigrants; I did not. Late-night, instant ramyeon noodles holds no charm for me.  I didn't even go to Rutgers.

There are plenty of churches where I might "fit in" better and feel more comfortable.  Yet here I am. What am I doing here?

I love our church. And I have long thought that our church may be called to a wider reach than its current demographic. Martin Luther King Jr. famously observed that 11:00 AM Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week.  The "unity" in those "communities" was not Christ so much as a shared culture and race. Yet almost 60 years later little has changed, while our nation still yearns for racial healing.

Because each person bears the image of God, the church, and perhaps only the church, can lead the way to racial healing.  "In Christ's family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ." (Galatians 3)

This is not easy.  This is not comfortable. But Christ does not call His followers to comfort, but to "deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  Paul wrote, "we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. (1 Corinthians 9) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  [...]  It's news I'm most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God's powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!  (Romans 1:16)

What gives unity to our community? 


 Author: Norm Hurst
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