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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Circle of Three

It was a typical Sunday morning in church. The pastor told a funny story, challenged me in my walk with God, gave me much to consider and then closed with a heartwarming story about a homeless man. He gave the invitation to salvation and we bowed our heads to pray. We sang the obligatory hymn for the alter call. I considered deep, meaningful issues -- where are we eating lunch?

He walked down the aisle, his leather vest, biker gloves and bandanna-wrapped head made him stand apart from this Sunday morning crowd that is much more comfortable in an SUV than on the back of a bike. As he stood at the front and spoke to our pastor, the tattoo on his bicep caught my attention. I couldn't make out the words in the three circles, but I wondered about them. What do they mean? Are they a code? A creed? Who is he?

I loved that he was here -- in my very traditional Southern Baptist church. We don't get many bikers... okay, we don't get any bikers. And edgy is not something we see in these parts. I loved it. This was just what I wanted to see in the church -- different people. My heart soared -- and then it shattered. As I watched these two men, one young, dressed in leather and the other older in a suit, there heads together almost touching -- one slightly graying, the other wrapped in a bandanna, my heart broke.

As much as I talk about wanting to break out of the box, I don't do anything to reach out to those who are different. I don't ask people who cross my path about God in their lives. I don't ask them to come to my church. I don't ask God to use me to reach others for Him.

I just don't ask.

Do I not ask because I'm afraid of the answer? Am I afraid that God will use me? Or am I afraid He won't?

As I looked at those two men, heads bowed together, each with one hand on the other one's shoulder -- one leather biker glove, the other with a single gold wedding ring. So very different, these two men, but joined together before the God who created them both, the God who loves them both and the God who sent His son to die for both.

What an incredible picture and the tattoo? I never did make out the words within the three circles. It doesn't really matter, because to me, that image represented the three who stood at the front of the church -- my pastor, the biker, and my Savior. Two I saw in the flesh and the other I felt in my spirit.

Are you stepping out on faith? Believing God for miracles? The love of Christ is beyond our comprehension and it's this love that conquers all -- even death.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. -- Eph 3:14-19 (ESV)

Sisters, trust God to do a mighty work! Ask Him to do that mighty work through you and in you. Believe God!

In Him,


Visit my blog at Adventures in Faith & Friendships!

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Blogger Denise said...

Amen, well said sweetie.

September 21, 2009 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger I am blessed! said...

We're all just people, aren't we? I love that James specifically forbids partiality in church. God knows it's a temptation and that we are "afraid" of those who are other than ourselves. I wish we had people of different colors and cultural backgrounds in our church. When I was getting my doctorate I so enjoyed be surrounded by people from all over. I'm sad that my church is so unicultural. I guess we have heaven to look forward to where we'll all be worshipping together!

September 21, 2009 at 7:28 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

Our home fellowship has been looking at how, as Christians, we are not so Christ-like. We do not go around loving "different" others like Jesus did - the adulterer, prostitute, tax gatherer, and those who even tortured Him.
Interestingly, after really thinking hard on this sad issue, I "happened" to come across a book called:
Lord Save us from Your Followers by Dan Merchant (The subtitle says, "Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?") It is so very relevant to what you were talking about. It has been a wonderful conviction to me!

you can see the work God did in my heart regarding {Racist? no. Prejudiced? well...} at my blog
blessings, Lisa

September 21, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to see your post. This troubled me so much sitting in the comfort of my large predominently caucasian church in the South that I left and joined a predominently African-American church. The Pastor always said he was not a "black" pastor but a pastor who happened to be black and he desired the same thing as I did--for the worship hour to look like our work environments. A diversity of all kinds of people. Kind of the way I imagined Jesus wanted to see the church. It goes the same for the guys on the motorcycles, the youth with tatoos, the people perhaps less fortunate than we. God sees them (us) as all the same--people in need of the saving grace that Jesus Christ gives us when we believe and confess His Name. By the way the church I joined did end up becoming close to the picture I hoped I would see but unfortunately the vision crumbled about two years later. I still desire to see all churches look like this. Thanks for your honesty. Enjoyed your article immensely.

September 21, 2009 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Need More Words said...

I am so blessed to attend a non-denominational church that has such a variety of people, it is a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Tatoos, piercings, spiked hair, white, black, yellow, brown, suits, dresses, jeans, all together praising God. It is truly wonderful. We come together on common ground, Jesus Christ. Glory! Our church is a "Church for All Nations" and we support missions all over the world. It is so fun to be a part of this.

September 22, 2009 at 12:58 AM  

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