Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.
When I was kid I remember how every year in November my mother would bake thousands upon thousands of Christmas cookies and treats. She made kolaches, cappuccino thins, grasshopper bars, napoleon creams, sugar cookies, spritz cookies, snowmen cookies, forgotten cookies, queen of hearts, fudge bars, and so many more.
But of course my favorite was always the gingerbread cookies. The single largest batch of cookies! Hundreds of gingerbread men, dogs, trains, and teddy bears! And when mom was nearly finished she would set aside several cookies that we could decorate in our own ways. We would use the frosting to create pants, shorts, belts, shirts, and even ninja outfits. Each of our cookies was frosted differently and in a unique way. However, for all of our frosted creativity, all those cookies were still cut from the same die.
Imagine if we had to fill a whole world with people. We could not possibly be creative enough to create so many different individuals. Ultimately we’d probably resort to using the same mold over and over again and then just coloring each person a little differently. However, our God is a God of limitless ability and creativity! He has put immense thought and effort into making each individual person out of billions and billions of people. Each person is unique and no two people are truly identical to one another. God has created and blessed us by making each of us different from one another.
As I’ve been traveling across America and sharing with others what I’ve seen God doing in Cambodia I’ve been talking to people about all the differences between us. Not only are we different from each other in how our bodies are shaped, how we dress, or how we speak, but we are different from those beyond our homes. We can look at various accents and dialects across our countries. We can hear different languages between people of different cultures and countries. We even see that we are separated by great distances and even oceans. Yet even though we are all so very different from one another we are still united in Christ and made to be brothers and sisters in Him.
Nga is one of the street children with whom I work. She is about 10 years old and her life is so different from that of children in America. She lives on the streets and sleeps on the porch of an old abandoned building. She does not have a bed with warm covers or even inside a room. She often struggles to stay in school and at night she goes to the riverside to beg for money from tourists so that she and her family have money to buy food. This is a life that is radically different from that of most kids we may know in America. However, the difference in language and where she lives is completely wiped away by Christ. When she comes to church she lights up with enthusiasm to know that there is a God who loves her. To know that there are other people who love her. She is excited to hear about Jesus and is eager to know more, just like so many children the world over.
There is no difference among us that makes God love any of us more than another. God created each and every one of us uniquely and placed each and every one of us into different circumstances so that each and every one of us can know His love in a unique way. So that we might know that there is no difference or separation that keep us from God and that we might be able to know that even though we are different, we are all fellow citizens and members of His household!
Let us celebrate our God and how He works across borders, across oceans, across languages, and across every difference that we might think can separate us! Let us go out into the world and share this love and message with all that different peoples of the world so that we can celebrate our unity in Him! Pray that God will continue to reach out to others and that we will use the blessings He has given us to reach out to all the world!
Obviously different. But brothers in Christ!