March 29, 2013
We participated in a Seder dinner last night.
In case you're not aware, it's a Jewish feast that marks the beginning of the Passover.
Many of the items eaten are a direct object lesson/reminder of the last supper of Christ with His disciples and His suffering, sacrifice and redemption.
It was a very moving, thought provoking experience.
I was profoundly reminded of Christ's love for us, His bride.
Looking over at Nance during the evening, and thinking of how very much I love her....I realized it pales in comparison to how much He loves me. That hits home like little else. I can get a grasp on my love for her. And it offers a glimpse of His love for me.
On our way home, we stopped at a fast food place to use the restroom, and get a coffee/coke. There were 12 employees working when I entered (I counted them after a few moments), and two customers being waited on at one of the registers. I walked up behind and stood in line. The cashier finished with them, they moved over to the side, and I moved forward for my turn, which never came. I continued to wait....and wait.....and wait....Fifteen minutes, standing in front of the register, with employees walking in front and behind me, never acknowledging me, or even looking in my direction.
I was shocked. Not mad, not angry. Just puzzled. What in the world is going on? And I began to take an inventory of sorts. Were they closed? No....other customers were eating in the dining room, and they were still cooking fries & burgers, and shuffling them out the drive thru window. Did they not see me? No....their intentional ignorance was becoming very obvious by now. So what is the deal???
It was then that it hit me, but I didn't (and still don't) want to accept it. The color of my skin was different than any of the employees, and any of the other customers in the restaurant. I hadn't realized it at first....that's one of the last things I'm going to notice.
When I was a little boy, I used to stay with a family for extended periods of time while my mom was in the hospital. It took me years to realize that the family had a different skin color than mine. It just didn't click with me. It wasn't important. The mother, Ethel, treated me like I was one of her own. I was sitting in her lap the evening that Martin Luther King was killed. Noticing her tears, I asked her why she was crying, and she said, "a good man died tonight, honey". That evening, and my overall experience with her family, forever influenced how I view color. It's not the first thing I see.
As I looked around last night, a feeling of disbelief and sadness washed over me. I realized that they had all determined, without ever saying a word or huddling up to call a "play", that they were not going to take my order. At least not anytime reasonably soon. And I also realized that someone, somewhere, somehow had influenced their lives in a way different than mine. Because they had grown up to see the color of my skin at first glance.
I wanted to build a bridge, to let them know that I could be a friend. I waited a few more minutes, to see if I could catch someones eye, smile, and maybe make a dent in the armor? But it wasn't going to happen. So I walked out and got in the car, and continued to drive home.
Driving through the late night, I thought about what had just happened, and how sad it really was.
An assumption had been made based on the color of my skin.
My thoughts were pretty much on pigment and color as I drove in silence.
And then I heard a still, small voice. "My skin color is different than yours. But I gave my life for you. And I love you."
Jesus wasn't caucasian, contrary to what many believe and refuse to accept.
The face of my Savior is going to resemble a person who has heard many insults, racial slurs, and horrible names yelled their way.
His skin color wouldn't be welcome in some homes for dinner....at the front of an altar next to their son/daughter as husband/wife....or as a friend, co-worker, team member or customer.
And that's sad on so many different levels.
One day, we will look in the face of the One who died for us, and realize that every time we spoke one of those hurtful names/taunts/insults, He heard them, and we hurt Him.
And that will be redemptive, on so many different levels.
No plan, no Way.
No sacrifice, no Hope.
All colors welcome.