The Powerful Opportunity of Inclusion

On occasion I have the joyful opportunity to visit my wife’s kindergarten class. Each time I spend time with these amazing little people, I am both encouraged and blessed by their kindness, joy, laughter, curiosity, honesty, and the great way they seek to enjoy each other’s differences. I saw some girls playing and having fun by the tree, and another little girl was a little ways away, by herself, looking like she did not know what to do. She was a new girl and not just new to the school, but new to this country. She did not know anyone, nor did she know English. But these amazing little girls noticed her, went over to her, and reaching out their hands they invited her to be included in their fun. A smile came over her face as they all went off to play. Wow! I wish there were more people like these little girls in our world. I wish I was more like those little girls. See these kids were not looking to divide or exclude, as my amazing wife has created an inclusive classroom culture. This inclusion is the weaving together each other’s differences and finding the fun, adventure, and life lessons in our diversities. Sure she needed teach the powerful opportunity of inclusion, for exclusion and division seem to be a natural reality of human nature. She explains differences like food, culture, clothing, hair color, skin color, languages, and accents are exciting and help us to see that people are people and each other’s uniqueness enhance who we are and are to be celebrated.

 

Yet it seems that this innocence and powerful opportunity of inclusion get washed away with the strong current of our ‘me-centered’, self-obsessed climate. We tend to exclude people who are not like us, or wish to have them conform to our way of life rather than celebrating their differences and finding the joy in developing relationships and connections with all kinds of people.

 

God created us different. There are not two people exactly alike, not even identical twins. We have unique finger prints, unique teeth, unique personalities, unique upbringings, unique cultural histories, and we all think a bit differently. God made us that way.

Psalm 139:13-14  13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

None of us are a mistake; we are ‘wonderfully made.’ Made to relate and interact with each other like the unique parts of the physical body.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14   12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

Diverse as we may be culturally or economically or any other difference, God’s desire is for us to seek the powerful opportunity of the unity of inclusion.

Galatians 3:28   28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  

It means we don’t show favoritism or see one’s culture or difference as better or worse, but just different and unique.

James 2:1  My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

Partiality is that unjust distinction of valuing or devaluing a person because they are different.

 

God’s intent is that we would tap into the power of inclusion and enjoy the rich flavors and colors of our uniqueness, learning and growing as we do. See, when I connect with my Cambodian friends, my understanding of perseverance grows as I hear their stories of surviving the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. As I interact with my Indian friends, I gain from their kindness, drive and great food! I am inspired by my Filipino friends’ hospitality, servant’s heart, and how easily they make friends. What a great joy to be around such a wonderful variety of people. Let’s gain from the powerful opportunity of inclusion.

 

Many churches are filled with all kinds of unique people. I know our church is, and we would love for you to join us if you don’t already have a church you attend. Easter week is a great time to try church for the first time or if you have not been in a while.  We have a wonderful Easter week planned with special services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Our web site has all the information for all our campuses: www.cypresschurch.net . We would love for you to find this powerful opportunity of inclusion with us.

 

Seeking to be more inclusive along with you,

 

Mike

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