Off the Wall September 2017 by Rev. Dr. Alan Dorway

When I was younger during Vacation Bible School at my church, we sang a song with the refrain: Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world, red and      yellow, black and white, They are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.  True, I would agree that some of the words are not as politically correct these days, but I grew up with this truth that Jesus loves all of his children.  I remember singing this refrain, holding hands with other children at our church, and having an understanding that what scripture says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)” meant something. 

Fast forward to today and our uncomfortableness remembering that we are all God’s children through Christ.  Our faith is a journey.  We are not the same today as we were yesterday; let alone where we were five or even ten years ago.  We are always learning and growing.  As we read scripture and take time to prayerfully reflect on areas we are grateful for in our lives, we change.  When we take time to learn, share, and listen in worship, look at scripture, and when we go to experience mission, we know that God is bigger than the boxes we try to keep our lives neatly packaged in.  Over time, I realize how insulated I’ve become rather than seeing my neighbor as my brother or   sister.  I could list reasons.  I’m sure we all have those days when we want to be open to each other, but something like the feeling “nothing is going to get better” creeps in and we just shut down.  For me, I’ve been working with other pastors and leaders to have conversations about addressing needs in Everett and it just seems like one more meeting is needed, one more, and one more and I begin to wonder, what will change?

I need to change or at least remember that I have changed and deepened my faith in Jesus.  I believe when we hold on to our testimony of grace Jesus has in our lives, then we can stick with the goal of loving our neighbor.  I get the nerve to show up to one more meeting.  And the next, not because I like meetings, but I believe I’m learning more about my neighbor when I do.  Our neighbor is not just the person next to us in the pew or even the family living next to us, our neighbor is the person suffering in Syria, hurting on the East Coast, struggling with addiction on our streets, and every child of God we see, regardless of skin tone or nationality. 

God loves all people and we are created wonderfully as His children from the very beginning.  Jesus does love the little children, all the children of the world, no matter the color of their skin or their clothes or their status, all are precious in his sight.  We believe this.  We are learning to live this.  We still have     opportunities to grow.  Thankfully, we’re on this journey together. 

As the fall begins (crazy to think how fast our year has gone!), I hope you join us in worship.  We are a group of Christ-followers who desire to make a difference in our world.  When we’re together, we’re better.  When we take time to listen to views that challenge us, we grow.  When we serve with each other and get to know each other past what some would say divides us, we testify to God’s amazing love and grace.  You are welcome here.