Martin Luther King Day always reminds me of our need as Christ-followers to cross over racial and ethnic barriers to learn from and love each other. Jesus certainly did that when He was alive--He elevated other ethnic groups, women, children,etc--He always reached across divides that others wouldn't approach.
Here we are 2,000 years after Jesus life, decades after King's life, and sadly, today in America one of the most segregated hours all week long is Sunday morning! Our schools and work-places are integrated (because we're forced to) but our churches are not, and I believe with all my being that this grieves God's heart...
Tara and I have had the privilege of living in culturally diverse communities, and it can be a beautiful thing. We even get to live in a diverse family as you can see above in the picture with my kids and their cousins. When we were moving from Philadelphia to Goshen six years ago, one of the reasons we chose the neighborhood we live in is because we knew our kids would be in a diverse school with diverse cultures. I think every person at some time in their life needs to live in a different culture--whether it's on a short-term project or a long-term move--people need to get away from their cultural roots long enough to learn about other ways to live life. Whether that's an African-American understanding Asian culture or a white American living in a place where they are the minority. Your whole world-view will change when you learn to walk in someone else's shoes. (Sounds like something Jesus did--see Philippians 2.) That's why we take our 5th graders from our church on a week-long mission trip each year--they need to experience and see God move in another part of the map.
Two Saturday nights ago, our family had the privilege of having dinner with two families who are brand new to our community. They had to get away from their situations in Atlanta and Chicago and come to a safe place to start over--these families were from different parts of the country and different ethnic groups. It was good for our kids to play and talk with their kids--you know, laughs and giggles all sound the same no matter the language or color of skin. It was good for Tara and I to rub shoulders with and serve these moms who need some of heaven's grace right now. Look for ways like this to live out your faith in front of your kids and teach them that God loves everyone the same. Why wait 'til heaven to be part of the mosaic God is painting today?