Archive for October 11th, 2009

Ten Thousand Charms

     One thing we have been very conscious of since attending All Saints AMIA church is the fact that it is made up of mostly white, and mostly middle class people. Looking back, that has been the case for most of my church going over the years, and seems to be the case for the majority of churches in America. This stark division was illuminated more so for me this weekend as we attended the performance of The Hallelujah Train with the “spine-shaking Pastor Brady Blade, Sr.” who presides at Shreveport’s Zion Baptist. It was an event that Duke put on and was headed up by Brian Blade (the pastor’s son) and his band, as a way to recognize his father and the work God is doing through him and his vocation. This man sang/preached/danced his heart out and was backed by the Zion Baptist church choir and The Hallelujah Train jazz group (who were about as funky as you can get). And let me just say, he definatly shook my spine! Apparently he has been preaching for over 50 years.

     Now, this wasn’t exactly a church service, it was a performance. But the word of God was preached through those songs in a powerful way and I’m not gonna lie, I danced and clapped and swayed till my feet hurt. My soul was awakened to the joy of the Lord in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long while. As we sat there amongst people from all different backgrounds and colors, I praised the Lord.  I praised the Lord for restoration, and for diversity. I long for a place where there REALLY is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, man and woman. In Christ, of course, this is the reality. But it seems not so in the churches we attend, the social classes we enevitably belong to, and the friendship groups we choose. For now, we can try to be more aware of this, and more open to change.  We can learn to be unafraid of those who are different to us, for we are told that perfect love casts out fear.

     In church this morning we talked about loving our brothers and sisters. I found it interesting to think about how we don’t choose who those ‘brothers and sisters’ are based on what we’re comfortable with. Surely ‘brothers and sisters’ encompasses more than the young white middle-class heterosexual couple who we were sharing our row with in church.  Surely. At the end of communion we sang a hymn that stayed with me. The chorus speaks volumes into where we can find the kind of place I’ve been longing for. Maybe the arms of Christ is the only place where we will truly encounter such rich love and acceptance for ourselves and each other.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.


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