October 12, 2009
Salad Bowl Love
When different metallic elements are melted in a pot, alloys are formed which have different properties from the original elements. In a salad, a tomato slice doesn't become a radish.
In a melting pot, people lose their individual identity and try to become the same as everyone else. In a salad bowl, people keep their identity but blend together to create an overall nutritious and tasty new product.
I grew up singing, Jesus loves the little children of the world, they are precious in his sight...
Jesus loves them just as they are because he created them just as they are. Yet he calls them into unity.
Oneness is not sameness. Unity is not loss of identity. It is much more difficult to rejoice in our ethnicity, yet lay down any superiority, for the greater citizenship and the higher cause of the kingdom.
Theologically, Revelation 7:9 makes clear that even before the throne of God, in our perfected state, there are ethnic distinctions...and perhaps even different languages. Perhaps the praises of God will be multi-lingual. We will all speak the common language of heaven but retain the language of our culture.
One of my most heavenly moments was a doctoral class with 9 different "heart" languages present in the room and Richard Foster had us sing, "Yes Jesus loves me" in our "native tongue".
Yesterday in my office for our newcomer's "pizza with pastor" time, we had natives from Colombia, Panama, Trinidad, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, with a Kansas farm boy like me. As one of the newcomers to church said, "I believe heaven will look like this". So do I.