The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV)
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King had a noble dream. His dream was that all people would be judged according to the quality of their character rather than by the color of their skin. We as a nation and we as humanity still struggle with this concept. Even though I would like to think differently, I know that I have deeply ingrained cultural and ethnic biases. I come from an extremely conservative, Christian, white American family, and that upbringing influences how I see the world and how I view other people. Most people prefer to be around “people like them.” I know I am more comfortable around people who are Americans who speak English, and who are of a similar ethnic and cultural background. It’s hard for me to relate to those of different cultures at times. It can be awkward, and I can fall back on stereotypes that may or may not be accurate when I am dealing with people who are different from me.
The question I have to ask myself is, do I value people who happen to be from a different ethnic or cultural background as much as I do conservative white Christian Americans? Do I love them with the unconditional love of Christ even if their customs are different from mine, even if they don’t believe the Good News of Christ, or if they have a different language or skin color or point of view than mine? If I am to be completely honest with God and myself, perhaps at times I don’t- even when I know that every human being is made in the image of God. Every human being has the same intrinsic worth in the eyes of God whether I feel that way or not. Addressing the disparity and prejudice that we humans impose upon each other was exactly what Dr. King was talking about. Let me see your heart, not your skin color.
When I look in the eyes of a fellow human being, do I see the eyes of Christ?
Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” Hosea 1:10 (NRSV)
When Jesus came to earth to be God with us, He meant all of us. Not just the Jewish people who were God’s first chosen. Not just Midwestern WASPs like me. Not just the church in Africa, or the church in Haiti, or the Orthodox churches, but for ALL of humanity. Jesus came to redeem all of the HUMAN race, which includes all of the colors and languages and cultures.
Can we work toward the heart of God that ALL people will be called, “Children of the living God?