When God scattered men like seeds riding the wind, with mixed tongues and confused speech, He always meant for the corners of the world to inhabit praise.
He always meant for His name to go far and wide.
I imagine the tower of Babel, the hands of men making their way to the heavens by sheer will and determination and no small measure of pride. The arrogance to stay huddled and similar when all along God commands us to reach further than we’re comfortable. Genesis 11:1 says, “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.” But God dispersed them with tangled tongues.
Still, we find each other. The ones who are the same. The ones with the same stories, the same language, the same look. The ones who will help us build our kingdom just the way we like it.
Some days, I look at the church and wonder if we’re not attempting to build towers of Babel once more — to align our speech and thoughts and works to try to reach our own heaven, to make a mighty name for ourselves. We often speak in like tongues, but it clangs against the speech of God.
We confuse unity and peace with uniformity and passivity. We stay clustered and similar, familiar and unchallenged.
We offer up words like colorblindness as a solution to the hard work of diversity. We mean well.
We say everything is a sin issue but refuse to name the sin racism. We don’t want to get our palates dirty on ugly words while some among us choke and cry out, “I can’t breathe.” When will those lives matter to us? When will black lives matter to us?
Some of us refuse to admit that all things are not equal. Racism, racial profiling, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the systemic oppression of so many people God created in His image. The roots of hate and pride and the narrowing of tongues to define what we exalt and what we justify like stacked bricks to Babel. The sameness of the stories we tell stifles us all, the witness to God’s church soiled and skewed.
We were made for more.
We often fail to see that diversity often means disparity, a large gap between how one is seen and how one is treated. But diversity was God’s initiative, His creative manifesto to paint humanity with vibrancy, color, and timbre. To make each freckle and speck of color in the iris, to coil hair in wiry locks, or lay them smooth like strawberry grain, to soak our skins in a thousand colors and draw them over the bodies of his men and women. The created ones who hold infinite value and the cost of the cross in their souls.
He chose to form languages that click and hum and roll off tongues or rattle in the throat like the hum of a bumblebee, to make words that purr and sing in a prism of different notes.
He stretched out His hand and formed the body, the heart, and the mind.
He placed us in time, in place, in culture. He knew only a body of many different parts would ever be able to reflect His glory.
He called us His bride, His beloved. He named us the church. But we’re failing our parts. Our body is sick. We walk a disjointed, hobbled step when we lurch toward unity and peace without including the need for diversity and justice. There are broken and hurting among us. When will we listen?
We are incarnational beings. We are not disembodied souls roaming the land. Our skin color, our race, our ethnicity, our language, our history matters to God. We cannot be blind to what He has created and purposed for His glory.
I’ve wept hot angry tears at the carnage seen when we forget that we belong to each other. I’ve lamented the pain we cause when we say those people instead of us. The pain and anguish and suffering in this world isn’t just ours to behold but is our burden to bear when we love like Christ.
To love like Christ, we must choose to see each other, to rest our soul among another’s and say I’ll walk with you. I’ll have your back. I’ll fight for you and cry with you and pray for you. I’ll ask forgiveness and I’ll offer it. I’ll answer hard questions, I’ll ask them of myself, I’ll learn, and be teachable. I’ll humble myself to seek and see and not just assume. I’ll sit in lament and rise up in praise. I’ll be with you and for you.
You belong to me and I belong to you because I choose the hard way, the path of Christ.
We must proclaim, I am the church at Pentecost, speaking with a unified tongue, not because we all come speaking the same language but because we are all called by the Spirit of God to a singular purpose. We were created to inhabit the presence of God. Not only God with us, but God in us. Because God in us makes us one.
We are the dwelling place for diversity, the reflection of God in unified form.
We belong to each other. We belong to Christ.
To love like Christ, we must choose to see each other, to rest our soul among another’s and say I’ll walk with you. - @AliaJoyH: Click To Tweet