To The Church of Any Color (Advent, Ferguson, Beyond)

{By Tammy Hendricksmeyer}

 

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

Romans 8:31-39, The Message

 

 

I see it you know? The way these heartbreaking events keep unfolding and how we feel that we can or can not say something about it. We are shushed or angered or saddened or silenced. Because there are divisions. Deep-seated ones in the hearts of men and women.

 

I see attention after attention on the angst, the mistreatments, the judgments or misjudgments, on the pain, the great canyon of skin colors, and the destruction of neighborhoods. The orbit we live in continues to spin out. And we are grieved.

 

December begins on a somber note of upheaval as we enter the waiting. Within us are the quakes of our own quiet fergusons, upending our peace, vandalizing our hearts, and battering the inroads to Advent.

 

But I see it. The other side of what we’ve become. The side where we’ve crossed from the darkness to Light and we are here, together. We are tethered by the Spirit, you and I. Jesus did not come to stay a babe but to give His life, and together we are the living, breathing, Bride.

 

These days, we have to feel for that fine thread to remember how we are connected. A bridge which crosses the great divide, this is where we come from. We’ve been made one by the One who made it possible. Black, white, red, yellow, does not matter in this ever-after land.

 

Because we are bonded and we are family, by God. And I’m refusing to believe a lie that we are divided just because the world is falling out. There are issues, as always, in this world. Because we will have trouble. But I’m coming to you, brothers and sisters, and I am embracing our wholeness, color, or ethnicity, or whatever may be, as part of the many jewels in the Father’s crown.

 

And it may look like the bridges are burning down, but I will not give into despair or quiet. Instead I will stand my ground with this Body which I’ve been yoked to, a light yoke that makes my heart easily beat for us. Because you have seen the pillar, friend. Stronger than steel or man-sized bolts, or any earthly matter, is that cross-beam for which we are supported. Remember it. For this is what we are and who have become.

 

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I see it again. How we are better than rainbows, arrayed with our colors that make our family a kaleidoscope of miracles. We are more precious than the sparrows because we have souls and we choose how to worship. We don’t have to ignore the obvious difference but instead, we will celebrate them. We will hug, laugh, and marvel at these differences, but we also learn from them. And we will love. Oh how we love, my friends.

 

Though there are troublemakers, or prejudices, or hurts from any and all sides, there is one thing that is True. And we look long into the night at Him. For hidden within each of us are treasures of delight that makes us unique and yet, makes us whole.

 

And as the wedges of this world try to drive you from me, we will draw ever closer to each other. Close enough to listen and hear the “thump, thump, thumping,” of each heart. Because Love. The kind that is closer than a brother? How can we not? So we will choose to worship this way. For we are Blood relatives and what a precious blood it was, and is.

 

The world does not live this way. But we are not called to be of it, only to live in it. And live in it, we shall. For we carry the Hope that it needs, the bridge to Kingdom-ness beyond the fire-y trials of the here and nows. When the world turmoil’s itself into a sickbed, prayer may be our only course.

 

But as for you and I, we will love one another. We will stand on this bridge, a body for Christ. We will remember our alien status, our exiled state which grafts us all to the same Vine.

 

Because we are knit together with a holy needle, by God. And we will remember the Love which saved us to love better and stronger. Then on this Rock we will stand.

 

We are the Church of any color or creed, adopted and rebirthed. ‘Though the gates of hell pound against it, we will not be moved. And out of the stone from which we are cut, the Kingdom comes and is coming still, on earth as it is Heaven.  On earth, or in Advent, or at Ferguson, or beyond, we are vessels of the Kingdom come and the coming still.

 

“Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him.”  1 Corinthians 10:15-18, The Message

 

(photo credit: Cover photo of Stones by Cindee Snider Re @Laity Lodge, Photos of Boots, Girls Walking, and Canyon by Tammy @Laity Lodge)

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My PhotoTammy has discovered writing is the rawest, scariest, frustratingly glorious, rewarding, and essential way to process life. She’s a renaissance woman who’s scattered pigeons at Notre Dame, swam the coral reefs of Okinawa, scaled fortresses in Nuremburg, and viewed the Eiffel Tower safely from the ground, a  poet who practices faith outside of institutions, throws her head back when laughing, and occasionally drives an old John Deere tractor in tim-buck-two. Her prodigal path has lead her to many ugly places, but she’s firmly finding her redeemed footing, and voice, with a community of people. Fighting for others to also see their redemptive purpose, beauty, worth, and connection to a supernatural God is her greatest passion. She’s the Founder and Curator for Outside The City Gates where she’s also a Co-Conspirator with a team of other writers. Her faith journey is found on her personal blog, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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12 Comments on “To The Church of Any Color (Advent, Ferguson, Beyond)

  1. Makes me think of one of Madeline L’Engle’s Advent poems I just read.

    The risk of birth

    This is no time for a child to be born.
    With the earth betrayed by war and hate
    And a nova lighting the sky to warn
    That time runs out and the sun burns late.

    That was no time for a child to be born.
    In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
    Honour and truth were trampled by scorn—
    Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

    When is the time for love to be born?
    The inn is full on the planet earth,
    And by greed and pride the sky is torn—
    Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

    We have to risk. All in. We have to be true to one another in this. Time is running out, and He has called us to this kind of love.

    Thank you for baring your soul here. It matters.

  2. I don’t know you, Tammy, but your friend sent me here, because she felt you had something worthwhile to say, and you do. You worthily represent the only One who has worth and makes our lives count. I wish I could pack you up and bring you home with me–right here to St. Louis. God bless you, dear one.
    Gratefully,
    Lynn

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