The most segregated hour in America…

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Ephesians 3:1 This is the reason that I (Paul) am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 

Paul was entrusted by God with a “mystery” – a divine secret that was formerly hidden. What was the mystery? “the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise of Christ Jesus through the gospel” (v.6) In the gospel Jesus Christ, God revealed his love for all peoples, not just Israel.

I wrote yesterday about my concern for the toxic political climate in the US, how people on opposite ends of the political spectrum don’t simply disagree but often harbor contempt for one another. I explained the hope I see in the church – a place where politically diverse people often come together for the sake of the gospel. That is good news indeed.

However, when it comes to ethnic diversity the church still has a LONG way to go. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a 1960 TV interview that, “11am on Sunday mornings may be the most segregated hour in Christian America”. Having myself traveled across much of America serving as a resource to churches of all kinds, I’m pretty sure the statement is still true – almost 60 years later.

Surely we can do better. The gospel demands it.

Lord Jesus, give us grace to embody the power of the gospel to bring people together. Amen.

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