Monday, March 26, 2012

"Different Strokes for Different Folks . . ."

Mark 9:38
"Teacher," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."

When Pastor Wallace and his wife go on vacation, they enjoy visiting a new church on Sundays.  Wallace prefers to sit in the back pews where he can better observe the congregation as they engage in worship.

On this particular Sunday, his attention is drawn to the pew tw0 rows up.

At one end, a middle-aged man sits passively, looking straight ahead.  The embroidered badge on the left sleeve of his shirt indicates he is employed by the county's sanitation department.

In the center of the pew is seated a young man dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt.  He rocks back and forth.  Constantly.  Wallace wonders if he might be autistic.

Just before the service begins, an elderly woman, elegant  in her diamond rings, stylish coiffure, and mink stole, slips into that pew and takes her seat next to the aisle.  The fragrance of her designer perfume hangs lazily in the air.

Three very different persons.  All in the same pew, though not sitting together.  Participating in worship, but not interacting with one another.

Wallace watches.  And, wonders about this seemingly incongruous threesome.  Is there any rhyme or reason for them sitting there?  Or, is it simply random?

It is Communion Sunday.  Everyone will soon leave their seats, pew by pew, to share in the Lord's Supper.

As the organ plays, the ushers move methodically down the center aisle.

One finally reaches the row of three, signaling them to exit.  What happens next is the very last thing Wallace would ever have imagined.

And, the very best . . .

The elderly lady stands, steps into the aisle, and waits.

For the young man in the jeans and t-shirt to join her.

They wait together for the garbage collector.

Then, arm in arm, up the aisle they walk.

To feast as one at the table of the Lord.

Where Jesus welcomes all His children.
Can you overlook social and economic differences in others?  Are you striving to see Christ living in them?

Will you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, we can so easily, like John, dismiss other Christians who are "not one of us".  Help us to see and You see and love as You love, knowing we are all Your children.  Thank You for Your precious Son, Jesus, whose table has room for us all.  Amen.

Psalms 31 or 35
Exodus 4:10-20 (21-26) 27-31
1 Corinthians 14:1-19
Mark 9:30-41 



  1. Oh Martha, economic or whatever differences are but the beginning of what people look for and judge by. I look only at the heart, it soon reveals all. Love to you my very dear woman, ou are a huge inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much, Jan for dropping in today!
      What a wonderful outlook you have, my dear! The heart does reveal all about another soul and you are looking precisely in the right place.
      May God bless and keep you today and always!

  2. Hi, Martha! ~

    I don't particularly 'overlook' differences, actually I enjoy & admire them. I'm attracted to variety. What I'm repelled by is not someone who is different from me, but, rather someone who wants me to be different than I am. I still love them but I can't be around them.

    I love the image of these three walking arm and arm through the church. Reminds me of Dorothy and her friends skipping down the yellow brick road... ;-)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Linda!
      I find it so refreshing that you can rejoice in the differences you see in others. Our unique qualities is what makes the world go round. :) And, you are so right not to bend and twist like an errant pretzel to be a someone others want you to be. You have to be yourself!
      Ironically, "The Wizard of Oz" is one of my all-time favorite movies. How wonderful it is that you had this particular image here!
      God's blessings, my friend!

  3. Wow, Martha:
    A powerful message here. We need to set aside our differences w/one another. That's the REAL meaning behind religion. Unfortunately, many in religious circles ONLY see the differences in us. You'll see Glory. Ahhh, but not you.

    Jesus accepted the sinners. why can't we?

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Chris!
      "Jesus accepted the sinners, why can't we?" - You said a mouthful here, my friend! Even as He hung on the cross, He forgave the thief beside Him and those who "knew not what they were doing". I am convinced we all must look for Christ in all persons, regardless of whom they might at first appear to be.
      Blessings to you always!

  4. This is the best reason I could give why I keep on believing in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We are made one in Christ's Body. We are all broken, blessed and shared. I love your reflections Martha. We forget our differences because we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I pray with you.

    1. Yes, Melissa, it is that very table which reminds us that we are all one in the spirit and one in the Lord. Our differences fade away . . .
      So glad you stopped by - thank you!
      Blessings always!

  5. Unity in diversity...everyone is the same in the eyes of god.

    1. Thanks for coming by today, Janaki!
      Yes, in the eyes of God, we are all equal. Only humans make distinctions, right or wrong.
      Blessings to you!

  6. It bothers me that this reminder has to be given so often at church. For those who have truly accepted God and his teachings, this should be a no brainer. However, it does happen more often than I would like and, in that sense, I love your story. People do need the reminder and you have illustrated the lesson well. xo

    1. I agree, Rachel, behaving in this way should be a no brainer for those who really walk with the Lord. We should be putting others before ourselves and looking out for one another always.
      Thanks so much for stopping by today!
      Blessings to you!

  7. I love your story, Martha. I wish that economic differences (and caste differences in India) were not an issue that came in to Church, but sadly they do....I so agree with what Rachel said too.

    1. Great to see you here, Corinne - thanks so much for stopping by!
      It is such a shame when we let man-created systems dictate how and whom we love as Christians. It really should be the other way around!
      Yes, Rachel said it all perfectly. :)
      Blessings to you!


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