Green eggs, racism, and unity
What do green eggs have to do with racism and unity? Maybe nothing, but the way my mind thinks, it's a fitting metaphor. Bear with me while I explain.I would wager, from my understanding of Scripture, that while God might actually like green eggs and love unity, He hates everything the word racism implies. How do we look at one another and hate a person simply because their skin color is different than ours? As if we have a choice in what we looked like when we were born?
I was an unplanned baby to parents of various European ancestry and came out looking like a wrinkled little woman. (Don't tell, but wrinkles grow back!) I am a white, freckled, strawberry blonde, green-eyed, half stubborn German. The other half is a mix, so I suppose I'd be a mutt in puppy terms. Does that make God love me less? Actually, I don't think God could love me more, or you more, whoever you are or wherever you come from. When He says, "God so loved the world..." that includes us all.
When Revelation talks about the kinds of people that will be singing God's praises before His throne, He describes them as coming from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. That means my neighborhood ought to be well represented. We have people from Iraq, Syria, Germany, Albania, the Philippines, African Americans, Indians, Pakistanis, and more. I lose track--actually, I don't keep track, that's just what you learn from living in the same place a long time.
I think my neighbors are pretty great. We've outgrown our house, but our neighbors are the best. And I'm so glad that God doesn't care about our race--that someday in eternity, it might look a lot like my neighborhood! Yeah. I'm good with that.
But I also grew up near Detroit, and in the 1960's, there was a lot of racial tension between black and white folks. Recently our church leaders have gotten together with other pastors from Detroit and surrounding communities and decided that it is time for racial reconciliation. What a concept. And I wish the whole nation could come to that decision. But what better place to start than with our churches?
So this summer our church is going to join other churches and go back to the place where the race riots started when I was a kid in the 60's, and they're going to work at rebuilding that area. I don't know all of the plans, but I know that if they can be the start of peace in the place where the race wars broke out in Detroit, that's awesome. I pray God uses their efforts and their prayers to unite us rather than allow the enemy to keep us divided.
Because really, why do we have these conflicts? I've come to the conclusion, for what my opinion is worth, is that it is fear. We fear those who look different than we do. Whites see black and they fear gangs. Black people see white and fear oppression. We need to end the fear and come together. In Christ we can do that. In Christ we are doing that at our church, but more churches, more believers in Jesus need to pray, to step up, to say, "you're my brother or sister" because in Christ, that's what we are. We may have some genetic differences and no two people are exactly the same, but on a human scale, we are far more alike than we are different.
Let me illustrate it this way. A relative of ours lives on a farm and a few weeks ago, he gave us a dozen eggs from the hens they keep. One of those eggs was green. Light green, but you could definitely see the green tinge. My first thought was, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am." (Loved Dr. Seuss!)
So I waited until there were only three eggs left in the carton to touch the green one. Since I wanted two and gave my hubby the third bigger one, that meant I had to eat the green one. I looked at it. Liked the brown one next to it much better, but cracked them both open into the pan and guess what? They looked and tasted exactly the same.
And that made me think of our pastor's messages on racism and coming together as one in Christ. Maybe that sounds like a weird analogy, but I find lessons everywhere I look. And really, just because my neighbor's skin is brown and mine is so white a tan just means my freckles grow together, what difference does our skin color make?
If my neighbor's customs are different than mine - you should see the way they celebrate a Syrian wedding! - compared to our much more reserved ceremonies, so what? If our church's African American song leader is more boisterous than his white male counterpart - well, yay! Exuberance is a good thing in worship, is it not?
God tells us in Scripture, over and over again, to welcome the foreigner and the stranger, and I think that means to welcome each other because we never know when we might be the stranger or the foreigner in a different land. Treat others as we would like to be treated. Surely God meant that Golden Rule applies to everyone.
"I do not like green eggs and ham" makes for a great rhyme, but to just look at someone or something and judge it or them by outward appearances is really the ugly heart of racism. I think this is where to be more like God shines brightest when He said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Let's be people of heart, not just sight.