The most segregated Day of the Week

Matters of race make people nervous in this country.  Rightly so.  It brings us face to face with the hypocrisy that exists in the very document that we claim makes us the greatest country in the world.   When Thomas Jefferson penned the words “we hold these truths to be self-evident…”  he was also holding another truth.  Human beings, in bondage not receiving the equal treatment the he claims was endowed upon them by their Creator.  Matters of religion are also nerve-wracking for us in this country.  Is it because religion has been used for centuries (not just by our country but the world over) to subjugate people, justify hate and deem acceptable [or unacceptable] certain behaviors?  I’m not sure.  This little diatribe is not to insinuate that I have the answers but to assert that I have some questions.  Some (i believe) very important questions.  As Christians, and yes I am one and not ashamed to be, we claim to want to be like Jesus.  We take pride in the number of His sayings that we can quote verbatim, yet Sunday is the most segregated day of the week.    Is it because God has ordained that we as people of different ethnicities should be separate?  I think not.  Is it because people are more comfortable with people who look like them? Perhaps. Or is it because of the hypocrisy of race built into the very fiber of this country?  I have been drawn to find out.  My first foray into the quest to see if it is even possible to desegregate Sundays began yesterday.  I didn’t start out with this idea in mind.  I simply needed a change in my routine.  I was beginning to feel stagnant, disconnected. That is just not a place that I need to be in spiritually considering my vocation.  There is a United Methodist church that I pass by daily.  Every time I pass it I feel a quickening in my spirit.  Yesterday I went.  Now I didn’t just blindly walk in.  I went to their website to discover the time and the type of service that they have.  I decided that I would prefer the contemporary service.  Why?  Well If I’m going to be honest about this I have to say it’s because I’ve found services in white churches to be a little boring and dry.  I was hoping the contemporary service would be more alive.  Now let me pause here and say that I have been to churches that have multicultural congregations and have found them to be very much alive.  They are also non-denominational.  But I am a born and raised, died in the wool AME ( if you want to know more).  As a Methodist I am comforted by the ritual of the sameness even as I seek life in that.  So I showed up on time and discovered that they have two services that are at the same time.  The traditional and the contemporary are held right across the street from each other.  I went into the sanctuary not knowing which was which.  Everyone was warm and friendly and greeted me as if I was a long-lost friend.  Except for one man.  He was tall and lanky, with his gray hair combed over to hide what even Stevie Wonder could see, and he was silent.  He refused to look at me.  I believe he was an usher.  Even as I said good morning he pretended that I wasn’t there and looked right through me.  I have to admit that it hurt.  As a Child of God when I enter the house of myFather, whether I have been invited or not I should be welcomed even if the welcome is a bit forced.  I took a seat at the back of that section.  It was then that I noticed that this couldn’t possibly be the contemporary service.  I asked the lady in front of me if this was the contemporary service and she said that it was across the street.  I quietly exited, and made my way across the street.  Again greeted warmly.  It was a little awkward, for all of us.  I’m used to swaying (okay rocking) to the music and clapping and saying “Amen”. It was very different.  “Would you stand and sing with us.”  And then everybody stood, but if they were singing they were very quiet because I couldn’t hear them.  Then it was time for the sermon.  It was very inspiring and also served as confirmation for my presence at that church.  It was from Matthew 10: 5-14.  The title was Shake it off.  He talked about rejection and the forms that it can take.  There is hostile rejection and indifferent rejection.  I think the fact that I was there, the only black person among a gym full of white people made more poignant his comment about being indifferent with people who don’t look like you.  All in all it was a good message.  He talked about how it is important, when rejected, to shake it off and move on.  After the service concluded he greeted everyone as they exited and he was especially warm to me.  I told him that I am a member of the AME church and he said, ”  We have a common history.  It’s just people keeping us apart.  I hope you’ll come back.”  I just might go back.  What I learned from this experience, the thing that made me cry is that people (myself included) so often want to put God in the box that He fits into in their own lives.  He is so much more than our minds can fathom.  I also cried for myself.  I have been putting myself in a box trying to please people rather than God.  This is just the first step.  Next Sunday, I will go to another church where the congregation is white.  I’m seeking the spirit of the Lord. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.


~ by Diva2de on August 12, 2013.

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