When I was in college, I served as the Student Relations Director for our Student Government Association. I was the face of diversity for the student body. After graduating, I was hired on staff as a Resident Director and the Director of Diversity Student Programming. These roles allowed me to keep the pulse of our student body and to facilitate events that celebrate diversity. As a black woman, some believed that I was only there to give our black students a voice. However, I was there to give our black, white, Hispanic, Asian, international, non-traditional and disabled students a voice.
I’ve never ‘fit in’. Now hear me out before you think I’m throwing some pity party – I’ve always had friends and have been highly involved in the ‘social scene’, but I’ve never fit in. I was raised to value my self worth and my identity in Christ. My parents raised my sister and I to grab a hand firmly when you shake it and to look a person straight in the eye. We were raised to hold our head up high. We learned that resilience and endurance ran in our bloodline as the evils of racism were revealed to us. My youth leaders, pastors, and teachers taught me to own my gifts and pushed me past my level of comfort. Confidence, on any level, can make others insecure. Even as I wade through moments of insecurity, I realize how different I am. And I’ve learned to love it. As I’ve come to love me, I’m compelled to help others love themselves. I want us all to win.
Diversity has never been about supremacy for me. It’s about the Kingdom of God. This verse from Revelation 7 never fails to bring tears to my eyes: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
John’s heavenly vision is what I long to see now. And I think God does too.
This scene makes my imagination go crazy. A tribe from Africa worshiping next to members from an underground church in China, led by the best salsa band you’ve ever heard. Different sounds and styles yet all of them robed white waving palm branches in worship.
I’m crying now. That’s just beautiful.
This is worship.
I love worshipping next to my friends in a church service. I am a jump-up-and-down-hands-raised-try-not-to-run type of praiser, and many of my friends are knees-bent-tears-flowing-reflect-in-silence type of praisers. Yet I believe it all smells sweet to Jesus.
I tell people all the time that, while my background is Pentecostal, I can enter into worship anywhere. Put me in Methodist, Baptist, or Anglican contexts and watch me praise Him. Of course I’ll be honoring to leadership and traditions of the church while fully engaging in worship.
Diversity is not about supremacy! It’s about the Kingdom of God!
Our gifts, our looks, our skin color, our abilities, and our beliefs may all be different but the beauty comes when we put it together to make much of Jesus.
May we all be robed in white with palm branches raised high in worship.
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”