Racism, South Africa and God’s Rainbow Kingdom Part 2
Sometimes I think back to a sermon I preached and wished I had said something different or extra. This is not because God’s Word changes but because sometimes we gain new perspective or a better method of application. Well, I think the same goes for blogs. 2 Months back I wrote about the fact that diversity is a thing to be celebrated, and relax I’m not changing my view of that at all. However, I think we can make the mistake of turning diversity into the ULTIMATE thing. Kind of like what John Piper said about missions. “Missions is not the ultimate thing, worship is”.
Let’s quickly read Revelation 7:9 again
“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”,
This is a very important verse in terms of celebrating diversity because it shows us what God is leading us towards BUT. We make a mistake if we think the main point of this passage is diversity, its not, the main point is a redeemed people who WORSHIP GOD.
So, worship and more precisely the worship of God is the ultimate thing, not diversity. Now why does this matter? I think it matters because it influences the way we do church and even which church we choose to belong to. If we make diversity the ultimate thing, we will be disappointed because there is no such thing as a perfectly diverse church. Also, it will become a big distraction in our worship of God, perhaps even become an idol. Our ultimate satisfaction will never come from diversity, it can only come from God. Also if diversity is ultimate we will be dissatisfied with church today because the church will only be made perfect at Jesus’ return. Is it not better to have our focus directed at God and look at church as a work in progress?
Maybe this illustration will help. Let’s think of diversity as a puzzle. There are many different pieces that will ultimately perfectly fit together. (Rev 7:9) But now the puzzle is incomplete. We can perhaps see something here and there but it’s still unfinished. Our hope is in the God who puts the pieces of this puzzle together, not in the puzzle itself. You follow?
Perhaps you are in a church that is not as diverse as you like. Or maybe you in a church that you don’t feel is transforming fast enough. Or you don’t like the style of the service? Too Western, too African, too whatever. (Remember people are always biased in their opinions) What do you think is the godly response? Change puzzles? Go from one imperfect puzzle to the next? Is there not a better way?
Of course if a church is completely off course and blatantly going against Scripture one should consider leaving. But I think we learn so much more, we become so much stronger and we will have so much more joy if we remain to be part of the long, messy and sometimes slow process of transformation. (Don’t be fooled to think there is any Church exempt from this process)
It does not happen overnight, and yes it is tough, but the master puzzle builder is at work. So lift your eyes above the current chaos to see the Glorious LORD.