Often the diversity of God’s creation is seen not as a blessing but as a problem. For many it is a daily challenge to not only accept that all people were created by God, but that God’s love extends to people who are different from them. Today, I held my first Chapel Time with our preschool children. Every time I select a story I consider what kinds of questions I might get from the children, teachers and parents. While I stand firm on my belief that Scripture is the Word of God, I prefer to talk with the children about stories that help us to see our commonality rather than our division. If you have spent anytime talking about religion with another person, you know that Scripture can easily be used to highlight the brokenness of creation rather than how it is unified by God.
With that said, today we explored the Creation accounts from the Book of Genesis. This is a text that is continually a source of contention and division. Creationists, intelligent designers and evolutionary theorists continually struggle with one another over exactly how the world came to be. This text is one that some may wish I shied away from this text. I for one, think that this text is rich with insights that go beyond the mechanics of creation. There is a rich depth to the Biblical account of creation that gives us a wonderful understanding of God.
My focus with the children was on the fact that God’s creation is one that is filled with many and varied things. From the order of the days, to the beast of the fields, we can gain understanding of just how wonderful God is. To demonstrate that wonder, I asked them to raise their hands as to which color was their favorite. As you would expect there was a lover of every color in the rainbow.
Too often our religious life is spent in developing a community of homogeny and conformity. I believe that this is often caused by our belief in a small God. Our limited minds and understanding seek to limit God, rather than experience the deep and wide God of Scripture. As I talked with the children of our preschool, I wanted to affirm them as being wonderfully made in the image of God. If that is true, which I believe it is, then our God must be radically diverse.
As we get ready to celebrate World Communion Sunday, I am reminded of just how hard it is to embrace the diversity of God’s creation. As we plan our worship, we seek to have it display the radical variety of God as expressed in the varied cultures we have come from. This is a wonderful challenge, yet it is a challenge. Finding ways to faithfully incorporate other traditions without making them a sideshow is difficult. Parading out our diversity once a year just isn’t faithful to our understanding of God’s creation. Yet we have to start somewhere.
Christ Presbyterian Church is uniquely blessed with people who are from varied backgrounds and cultures. We also benefit from having a large number of people who have worked in the international community. Perhaps this gives us a leg up on other congregations. Or this may actually work against a deep expression in life together. Do we take the diversity of our congregation for granted?
This year I hope that our World Communion Sunday Celebration can be a start of a larger effort to embrace the radically diverse creation of God, causing us to find more ways to express the positive differences with which God has created us. Of course this goes beyond nationality and race. As a congregation, we should seek to build a community that fully embraces all ages, genders, socioeconomic and political persuasions. We have an underlying ethos that is a wonderful foundation for this type of intentional work. I pray that God will lead us to continue this type of radical congregational life.
- What are some ways our congregation can reach out and expand our cultural experience and diversity?
- Do you have a unique gift that God is calling you to offer through Christ Presbyterian that will help us experience the variety of creation.