When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them.” Matthew 9:36a
It was familiar but not. One of the highlights of our recent trip to England was the opportunity to experience so many things that were similar to life in America but at the same time different. After all, we all spoke English, but our English and the English the Brits spoke was just a little different. More on that in another story. We both drive cars but on different sides of the road. They drive on the left (who knows why) and we drive on the right because…we are right. We like (love) ice in our drinks, and when we ask for ice, they look at you like, “What?” Crisps are potato chips and flats are apartments. Like I said..we both speak English but not quite the same.
Another thing I enjoyed while there was attending worship. I am a Christian who happens to be a Baptist. The church I attended there was Baptist too and while it was the same, it was different. They didn’t have offering plates…they used these little bag things with a pole attached. It was like a fish net but was made a cloth instead of netting. One of the things we really loved…and wished we could import…was the fellowship time at the end of the service. After the last prayer, instead of rushing out the door to the nearest restaurant or appointment, everyone, gathered at the back of the worship hall and just visited. There were some light refreshments but mostly people just talked. How novel.
One thing that was a little different was the songs that they sang. While some were familiar there were several that were totally new to us. So, I was glad when the song person said we were going to sing, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” That is a wondrous (pun intended) song and one of the older hymns that I enjoy singing. As the instruments, a piano, flute, and guitar began to plan the introduction…something wasn’t quite right…not familiar. And soon, very soon, I realized that while I knew the words, I certainly wasn’t familiar with the melody. How about that? Same song, same words, different melody.
So, I jumped right in and worked my way through the unfamiliar melody motivated by the beautiful familiar words. And even with the different melody, the words carried me into worship. And just about then it hit me. In life, church or no church, we can come together and do life. We may walk or dance to a different tune but still can be carried by the same message. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we realized that we are all created by the same God and the things that make us different are not a weakness but a strength? Wouldn’t it be a better world if we were not driven apart by skin color, or our heart language or the social economic station we are in life? Let me tell you. It.Would.Be.Better.
Of the thousand things that I love about Jesus, one of the best is that He loves people. Period. When He lived here, He just saw people as people. Some might have been more broken than others, but He loved them all the same. One time a bunch of people met Him on the shore as He got out of a boat. I’m sure there were all kinds of people there that day but all He saw was people and the Bible just says He had compassion on them. He loved them.
If you are a Jesus follower, or even if you are not, why not follow the example of this lowly man from an obscure part of the world. Why not set out today to see people as people…and love them regardless. Even if they look different, speak different, believe differently or, gulp, vote differently than you…why not just love them? If you happen to be a Jesus person, well, I’m sure that is something that would make Him smile…and if not well…He probably would smile anyway. Accepting people as people isn’t easy but with a little help from the One who made us…anything is possible. In other words, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne