We had 80 students at our worship night tonight.
All around the room, students lifted hands and voices in praise to Jesus. The worship leader sounded like a blend of Israel Houghton and the Barenaked Ladies. We had such a great time!
But I felt like a fish out of water.
Many of our students come from Haitian families. Most of the rest are African, Caribbean, and African American. And even though I'm bi-racial, I felt stunningly white tonight.
Once, that fish-out-of-water feeling would have overwhelmed me. Being out-of-water is hard for white folks, but harder, I think, for bi-racial folks. Displacement devalues ... at least, at first.
But there's something beautiful on display, powerful, when we cross ethnic boundaries, displace. Tonight, I experienced worship in a way I can't in an all-white setting. And, by my presence, I had the chance to show off a powerful element of the gospel: Jesus' death on the cross breaks down barriers between ethnic groups.
Our difference in ethnicity remains, but settles into a larger framework. The gospel of Jesus creates a union that supercedes the dividing walls between ethnicities, giving us another identity without replacing the one we inherited from our families.
Our fish-out-of-water experiences have new, wonderful, redemptive meaning in the kingdom of God. Nothing else can accomplish what the gospel can accomplish.
The whole world should see this!
What would happen if we were willing to be fish out of water for the gospel?