Split Rail Fence on Hilltop at Sunset
As we exit Black History Month and enter Women’s History Month, a few questions come to mind:
  • Do you recognize and celebrate Black History Month?
  • Do you recognize and celebrate Women’s History Month?
  • And what about other opportunities to recognize and celebrate diversity and inclusion?
  • Have you ever thought about the slight difference in these words: diversity / divisiveness; inclusion / exclusion?
I recently came across this story written by Patricia Raybon. She is an author and journalist whose personal essays on faith, family and race have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and USA Today among others. It partially caught my attention for the world has plunged further into war.
“The village vicar couldn’t sleep. As World War II raged, he’d told a small group of American soldiers they couldn’t bury their fallen comrade inside the fenced cemetery next to his church. Only burials for church members were allowed. So the men buried their beloved friend just outside the fence. The next morning, however, the soldiers couldn’t find the grave. “What happened? The grave is gone,” one soldier told the reverend. “Oh, it’s still there,” he told him. The soldier was confused, but the churchman explained. “I regretted telling you no. So, last night, I got up—and I moved the fence.” God may give fresh perspective for our life challenges too—if we look for it. That was the prophet Isaiah’s message to the downtrodden people of Israel. Instead of looking back with longing at their Red Sea rescue, they needed to shift their sight, seeing God doing new miracles, blazing new paths. “Do not dwell on the past,” He urged them. “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18–19). He’s our source of hope during doubts and battles. “I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, [providing] drink to my people, my chosen [people]” (v. 20).  Refreshed with new vision, we too can see God’s fresh direction in our lives. May we look with new eyes to see His new paths. Then, with courage, may we step onto new ground, bravely following Him.”
Jesus was inclusive in His associations. Matthew 28:19a: Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations”. Notice Jesus didn’t say, some nations or only some people.
And some of the congregations Paul started were led by women: Philippians 4:2-3 - 2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, my loyal companion, help these women for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
I am thinking about where I place my fence. I am thinking about who I allow inside my fence and who I keep out. How about you?
You have questions, so do I. Let’s talk.
Deacon Bill
Walk the Talk