We took flight! Across the country to a new place and space!
After my daughter graduated we took a trip to the West Coast. New territory for both of us and we were excited, but nervous. Long flights with layovers in unfamiliar airports and new city streets meant we would have to trust others to get us places safely. All the Google searches in the world could not completely prepare us for how steep the hills of San Francisco would be or advise of us all the minor differences. Imagine our surprise when we were out shopping and after buying 8-10 pieces of clothing we were asked, “would you like a bag”? Seems like an obvious answer to me. “Yes, we would”. And then we were charged for said bag! Ha!
As we prepared for one of our flights we received news of the recent nightclub shooting in Florida. My heart sank to hear of the lives that were taken. I was burdened for their families. My mind wondered if this would affect our travels and in many ways it did. I couldn’t stop thinking about differences.
The very word infers “to differ”.
We are people who differ. We are different. We have differences.
We even say, “I beg to differ”!
Do our differences have to make us separate or can they bring us together?
So often, they separate us, but unity is what we need.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. ” 1 Cor. 1:10
We need to beg to unite!
I’ll be the first to admit that the combination of traveling into unknown spaces and seeing differences in culture, in people, in places, elicits a bit of a barrier-building response in me if I’m not careful. I travel cautiously. After hearing about the great loss of life and entering into a city that describes itself as the city with an open heart I began to try and drop some of my barriers to bridge the gap between myself and others that outwardly appeared different.
My motivation? To share Christ’s love. To share love rather than hate.
Knowing that Jesus embraced the different gives me a desire to do the same.
But how does this look in my life? Where do I start?
My daughter would likely say it starts with me not staring. Ha!
I would say it starts with a look, then a step, then a friendly word. Sometime just a hello. Other times a thank you. And a few times a whole conversation.
Moving past differences to create a bridge for unity begins with a heart that longs to love like Jesus.
Tucked in my heart after leaving the West Coast to come back home is a prayer. One that I hope others will join me in praying,
Lord, You created each thing, place and person to be beautifully different. You created it all with the same love and then you offered everyone the same Love for all eternity. Help me to see through your eyes and love like You. May I embrace the differences with wide open arms and a heart like Yours! Amen
This summer Donna and I will be teaching a bible study using Suzanne Eller’s book, Come With Me. Among other questions, Suzanne asks, “Do we really love people who are different from us”? Find out more about the bible study here: https://www.facebook.com/events/525554287624579 and more about Suzanne Eller here: http://tsuzanneeller.com/2016/06/13/loving-people/#more-12388