In Genesis 1:26, God said “Let us make man in our image”. We need look nowhere else to understand why it is that there is dignity in human life, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Each human being, formed in their mother’s womb, is made in the image of God, and how we therefore treat each other is a direct reflection of our relationship with God.
For students of the Bible, it is easy to point out many different instances of racism that have occurred throughout history. Taken out of context, far too many people over the millennia have used the Scriptures to support their wicked ideologies, but the whole of Scripture condemns that thought. From the earliest pages in Genesis where God promises Abram that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” to the closing pages in Revelations where John sees “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb”, the Bible clearly demonstrates that when we focus our worship on God, we are one family. However, for those who worship the world, what was meant by God to be beautiful diversity becomes senseless division.
A quick read through the Book of Acts, where the formation of the church is chronicled, demonstrates the diversity of believers. Yet a quick look at churches throughout our nation today show something different. Perhaps, despite the exhortation that we are to be in the world but not of the world, our churches today reflect too many instances where we are held under the influence of this earthly kingdom. When we are focused on the world, we see our differences. When we are focused on God, we see His glory shine through our diversity. Perhaps our churches today are testifying that we are worshipping the wrong kingdom.
Ultimately, to become a follower of Christ is to place Jesus above every other relationship that you will ever have. Your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your children, your friends, your co-workers – all must yield to Jesus. Christ himself pointed to those who worshipped with him and identified them as his family, even as his own actual family stood outside. So it must be with us, especially when it comes to worshipping at church. It shouldn’t matter if we feel more comfortable with certain styles of music, or ways of praying, or even delivery styles by the preacher. All that should matter is that Christ is glorified through the proclamation of His word. If we focus on God’s heavenly kingdom, keeping Jesus as the sole reason for our worship, then we will clearly see that those who worship alongside of us from all the corners of the world are our true and eternal family. We will see the image of God reflected in the faces of all people, reminding us that they are worthy of our love.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron