I was talking with my friends recently and I made the point that I didn’t understand why some things in the world are a certain way when no one wants them to be like that. “At least,” I said, “No one I know!”
My friend pointed out that this is probably because everyone I surround myself with is very similar to me. Apparently it’s called the social media echo – you put out an idea out on social media and all your friends comment on it with similar thoughts and feelings, so it feels like everyone thinks the same way as you do.
Of course we still see and hear things that are different or opposite to what we believe, but they are from people and places far away from us so they feel less real or less important.
Girls, it’s time to break out of the echoing cave!
This Sunday, who is it that you’ll make a bee-line for after the service? People who are the same age, skin colour or gender as you? Or people who are older, younger, from a different part of your city or at a different stage in their lives?
A couple of thousand years ago, everyone in the world was either “in” or “out”. The in-group was the Jews – God’s chosen people. Some of you reading this would have been in; most of us would be out.
When Jesus came to earth as a man he broke down the barriers. He hung out with Samaritans and Romans, people from cultures that the Jews hated. After Jesus went back to Heaven, the apostle Paul travelled around Europe continuing to spread the message that everyone is welcome in God’s new Kingdom. Paul wrote:
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus… There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3: 26 -28
What Paul is saying is that we might all look, sound or seem different, but if we have faith in Jesus Christ we have something deep within us that makes us one family. So with Christ living in me, I have more in common with a believer living in a rural farming community in Eastern Europe than I do with some of my old uni friends!
So next Sunday, break out of your comfort zone. Introduce yourself to someone you wouldn’t usually talk to; get to know someone older or someone with a different cultural heritage. Welcome the new family in church. It’s less scary when you remember who it is who has brought us together!