Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in you.Joni Eareckson Tada
Yeah, well, today we are all going. The groom personally invited us. In fact, he made a point to say, “Make sure you bring the boys. I want to see them at my wedding.” Forcing back the tears, I promised they would attend.
So, here we are at the church. Neil and I are standing at the back of the sanctuary, he with one boy and I with the other. So far, I am pretty impressed at how well the boys are doing. Noah is repeating scenes from Eight Below when the dogs are barking. At least he’s barking in a whisper. Judah is talking in “Judah-jargon.” Both have their ears covered. People keep turning around and glaring at us, but, really, they’re not being loud at all. The butterflies in my stomach must have a caffeine buzz. The lady sitting directly in front of Judah just leaned over and whispered to her husband. Another glare. Now someone is whispering to Neil. Maybe she has another “seating” option for us to see our friends get married. The balcony, perhaps?
Yep. I was right. We were just asked to leave. Somehow those butterflies turned to a sack of soaking, wet rags. I think I might throw up. Neil says, “We’re staying. We’ll just stand in the foyer.” Tears are stinging my eyes like little needles as I focus on the groom finally getting his chance to say, “I do.”
Acceptance & unity–something all humanity longs for. Our family has definitely experienced that longing. Each situation is as unique as the individual. Yet we constantly find differences in the name of “uniqueness,” but in the end, we divide. Why? Our uniqueness should be what’s most respected and valued in each other. Still, we generalize, categorize, and divide from there. Everyone does it. No exception. Then again, that’s another reason why we need each other.
So why do we do it? Is there a need to feel superior? Have we become slaves to fear? Is it so terrifying to find out we might be wrong about what we think we know? Is the hunger for comfort so strong that we refuse to step outside the borders of our shoebox world views? Is our identity so wrapped up in our looks, our jobs, our social status, our opinion and political views, and our abilities that we forget why we’re here in the first place?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is one of reconciliation. The purpose of Christ’s death was to reconcile humanity, as many as would accept Him, to God. Reconciliation. Not a popular word today, yet how we long for it! Whether in our marriages, our children, families, friendships, cultures, people groups, nations –the world. We talk about world peace on one hand, but on the other, we divide with our prejudicial points of view and categorization. It’s interesting to me that we treat others based on our illusions of self-sufficiency.
Social class, social status, educated or not-so-much, ability vs disability, political views, north or south, east or west, which state, which side of the continent, what country, the shade of one’s skin –dark to fair, and the list goes on a thousand miles.
When Jesus Christ reconciles us to Himself, He changes us. We become a people of reconciliation. We no longer live like those who don’t know Him. We’ve been invited, called out. Do we reflect Christ? Do we love others as we do ourselves? Do we serve others as Christ served? Do we cross cultural and racial boundaries as Jesus did in order to reach others and love them?
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” ~Revelation 7:9-10
Clearly, we need to put away our ammunition of self-preservation and begin serving each other without prejudice of any kind. We’ve all been invited to worship and praise before His throne. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).
Our friend, the groom, sees us and thanks us for coming. People are waiting to congratulate him, but he makes them wait. Taking his time, he makes sure we have been cared for. “Yes, we did get something to eat and drink, thank you.” Then long, tight hugs all around as we thank him for allowing us to attend his wedding.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad you came.”
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.Martin Luther King, Jr.
WE. NEED. EACH. OTHER.
This post is dedicated to our family who have walked through life with us over the last decade, especially when life was hard and we were hurting. Thank you for staying close and having our backs through all of it. Thank you, Kevin & Kim, Nabiel, Khayri & Destiny, Lucas, Jayna, Dennis, Paul, Don, Jamal, Ralph, Bill & Joan, Mike & Chris, Chris & Wyndy, the whole Horne family, Ken & Meghan, Chris & Veronica, Walter, Jay & Rosemary, Rob, Ted & Teresa, Gail Hughes