"On a harp each string keeps its own pitch, but each sound can be combined with others to make different melodies." (Wisdom 19:18) (A book in the Apocrypha of the Old Testament)
Anyone driving by the church last Saturday morning would have thought that I had finally lost my marbles. (Not really -- I keep them in a can my daughter decorated for me near my office door). Anyway, the passerby would have seen me standing on a step ladder in the middle of the empty church parking lot taking a picture of the asphalt below. (They couldn't see the color-burst above from the highway. To them it just looked like an empty parking lot with me on a ladder.) It snowed Saturday morning and our gracious snow-plower cleaned and salted the parking lot leaving a layer of water to dry. What you're seeing is the result of some sort of petroleum product having dripped onto the thin layer of water on the asphalt. The petroleum product was drawn across the surface of the water leaving a huge work of art in the parking lot.
Oil and water - so different that they don't mix. As a matter of fact, had they mixed this beautiful color burst never would have appeared. By the oil and water working together an incredible melody of colors emerged. It's probably the understatement of the century to say that we have difficulties with our differences. We're often so frightened of our differences that we either foster hate for one another to drive us apart or try to minimize and ignore our differences by proving how much we're really alike so we can get along. Let's face it -- we're different - for a reason - God's reason!
Sometimes we're so afraid of our differences that we try to "neutralize" everything and live with a blah shade of beige. I remember many years ago when I visited a shopping mall in a community with large Jewish and Christian populations. The mall management decided to solve the Hanukkah/Christmas holiday decorating problem by banning all decorations. Walking through the mall was a terribly boring and depressing experience during the holiday season. Years later I happened to visit the same mall and found that they had reversed their position and chosen to celebrate both holidays with joyous decorations.
Consider the quote above from the Book of Wisdom. Music would be practically impossible with only one string on a harp, guitar, or piano. Oh, we could still twang out some sort of one-note at a time rhythm, but think of the splendor we'd miss without several strings vibrating together making heavenly music for the soul. If we spend less time being afraid of our differences and instead, affirming our differences, I believe we can make some beautiful forms of "life-art" together. God made us to be different, God affirms us in our differences, and God calls us to celebrate the melodies and color bursts we can make together from our differences.
I pray that God will help me look for ways to artfully celebrate our differences and allow God's beauty and love to shine through them. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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