Last Saturday, to demonstrate my firm conviction that Spring will come early this year, I buzzed off my “Unabomber”-style beard. [Now we’ll wait & see if my prophetic powers are greater than those of a groundhog].
It had been roughly ten years since the last time I had grown a beard and it was shocking to see how many gray whiskers had crept in during that time (which happens to be the same time period in which I got married and started a family – but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence). However, it was more interesting to me to look closely at the beard and see the “rainbow of colors” that it contained. I mean, my hair has been jet black for my entire adult life (though flecked with gray these days), so I expected the beard to be the same. Instead, there was just enough black to provide a background for the huge swaths of gray, heavy speckles of red, and even a sprinkling of blond.
Essentially, my beard provided a nice snapshot of my entire ancestry – the make-up of who I am. The black hair revealed a heavy dose of English ancestry mingling with a dash of Native American and Turkish blood. The red hair showed the intermittent sprinkling of Scottish and Irish ancestors in the family tree. The blond hair provided a glimpse back at the platinum blond hair of my youth, while the gray hair presented a reminder that the “senior years” are nearly upon me.
There it was: English, Indian, Turkish, Scottish, Irish, Young and Old – from the maternal side & the paternal side – all coming together to form me. And it was displayed in my beard for all to see, with no possibility of pretending to be ethnically “pure” or culturally sophisticated.
The New Testament teaches that the Church is supposed like that, made up of people young & old, male & female, rich & poor, from all races and walks of life.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Gal. 3:28]
11Here [the Church] there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Col.3:11)
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (MT 28:18:19)
A church is never supposed to be a place made up of people “just like us”. It’s supposed to display a varied cross-section of people made in God’s image – intermingling as a family – for all the world to see.
Worship – Grow – Serve