I have just come home from a meeting of some of my favorite people, Christians for Biblical Equality- Houston. Hearing many people there discuss their blogs, I decided to give it a shot. So, pardon the learning curve that will be apparent for a while, and please join me in the search for some insights and some adventures. First, here is an article I recently wrote for the local newspaper. It’s about belonging.
“Today is your lucky day”, said the ticket agent. Ken Langley of Zion, Illinois tells of an expedition he and his wife took a few years ago. The flight was overbooked, so they sat in the waiting area for a while until the problem was being resolved. Then the agent came to them with the news that they were being bumped up into First Class in order to get them on the plane and to their destination. This was the first time they had ever enjoyed a flight so much, pampered and treated royally. The food was better, there was plenty of room, the snacks were quality.
As they rode, they talked with each other about who else didn’t seem to belong in First Class. There was a man who walked around in the cabin in his socks, playing with the in-flight phones but never actually using them. There was the guy who read every magazine on the flight, acting as though they were interesting and filled with new information. One of the passengers sneezed so loudly that Langley feared the oxygen masks would fall. This same man took the small linen table cloth placed over his tray, and tucked it into his collar as a bib.
Here was a chance to feel amused, even a chance to feel superior. We know that many people use such a moment to do these things. Parents feel awkward when our children laugh out loud at such scenes. “The truth is”, Langley says about his time in First Class, “we don’t belong there any more than they do.” We may have some different ideas about how to conduct ourselves, but underneath it all, we are included because of the benevolence of someone else.
This thought should be our thought when we think about the blessings we enjoy from God. Yes, maybe we have been in this church a long time, and maybe we are descended from one of the founding members, maybe we even have paid for many of the comforts that every one there enjoys. But, belonging is a different story. Belonging is a gift from God, one that we should cultivate and treat well with gratitude, but a gift that is ours because of God’s grace. We are invited to be in the family of God, and a member of his Kingdom. Yet, it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…”. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
We may see others we consider misfits, but let’s think again. It is not social station that makes us fit. It is not age, or race, or gender, or our knowledge, or our fashion sense that makes us fit. It is God’s grace that makes us fit. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)