James 2:1-4 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand over there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Last night sweetheart and I had the privilege of working at the Winter Jam tour in Houston where we live. Area churches provide volunteers to work at merchandise booths and sell tickets. This allows the tour to keep the prices low, enabling many who could not usually afford to see a concert a chance to experience praise and worship in a powerful way.
The Newsboys and Skillet headline a ten band lineup which draws a rather diverse crowd. These bands are Christian rock musicians, a type of a music that makes many older people cringe at the noise level. Yet, to see a concert hall filled with over twelve thousand people, all rocking out in praise of Our Lord and Savior is a powerful thing.
As we rode home, sweetheart and I talked about the many kinds of people that we had met over the course of the evening. Many, many, MANY people would not be welcomed at the types of churches that we had grown up in. The clothes, the hair, the “look” was often very far outside the norm. I would venture to say that some of them would make most people get up and move if they slid up next to you in the pew.
We pondered how sad this attitude was, commenting on how we, at times, are very judgmental in our view of what of Christian should look like, act like, be like. Even in our own church, there is still the tendency to try to sidestep those who are different. When we come into the sanctuary on Sunday, how often do we scan the crowd, making sure we don’t sit beside “that” family or “those” kids?
As I stood in a doorway overlooking the concert floor where thousands of people were worshiping Christ in a profound way, I thought of His ministry. He did not have dinner with the rich and powerful. He did not stay at the Hilton. He did not wear the rich tapestry of clothing that the religious leaders wore. He did not even have a home to return to. I am quite sure, at the time, He was considered quite “different” from the normal citizen.
The difference was that He loved everyone. He was not unapproachable. He was not hidden behind security teams and handlers. He did not care if you wanted to share bread and fish or a sumptuous feast. He put His hands on the filthiest people He met, touching them, hugging them, giving them back their dignity. He did not think they should take a bath or cut their hair or put on better clothes. He reached out and loved them, purely and simply.
Dearest Father God, thank You so much for giving sweetheart and I the chance to view the world through a different lens. Thank you for showing us that You are everywhere and that You love everybody. Thank You for letting there be something for everyone at Your table. Thank You for these amazing musicians who bring You to the world through music. I am always amazed at everything You teach me. You are an Awesome God and I am grateful for Your mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Brother, Amen