Yesterday was ABCNJ’s Annual Session, which always does funny things to by blood pressure 1. But one thing is do appreciate is the wide swath of people who come out to the event. The picture below was taken the day prior to our main session, but the variety increases as the crowd grows. It’s not a perfect blend of peoples, by any means, but it is true. At one point during our Pastor’s Academy, for example, one of our speakers asked those gathered to turn and share some stories with one another. As I wandered the room with my camera I noticed how few people were speaking with someone who shared their ethnic identity. This wasn’t “color blindness.” Each person was able to speak from their own perspective, which required our differences to be acknowledged. It was, rather, a celebration of the family.
It’s humbling to be part of this family, and it’s existence holds a timely message. Yesterday I was struck by the presence of a county sheriff standing watch as we gathered. It struck me as odd, given one was not present the previous year. Then it dawned on me, a Jewish group was meeting in the room opposite ours. The security was for their protection. What a world in which we live, where a group of kind and gracious families had a legitimate concern about the possibility of violence directed against them.
This is wrong, and the rhetoric and actions which cause this fear must not be left unchecked. On Friday and Saturday I got to see how the Church could be a positive influence for grace and peace. If only we could, en masse, let go of our anger and/or cultural entitlement.
- Like sending it through the roof as I flag problems and try to keep the screens running. I use the word “no” a lot. ↩