Just like Tootie from Meet Me in St. Louis, I feel lucky to be born in my favorite city. There are so many things to be proud of in St. Louis. The spectacular, free attractions can’t be beat! Of course, St. Louis has its quirks. One would be the fact that we’re constantly asking new acquaintances, “Where did you go to high school?”
This question is usually posed in order to make connections; to see if you have any mutual friends. However, this question can lead us to believe all sorts of stereotypes about others. Without even looking at someone, if you know their high school, you could assume their race, their religion, and their socioeconomic class.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen some negative attention St. Louis has been receiving in the news the last four years. If we believe it or not, like many cities in America, ours is pretty segregated.
When Paul was writing to the Ephesians, they were living in a similar situation. One was either Jew or Gentile. Paul wrote the following verses to show that Jesus’s death on the cross cracks the divide between people and unites us all.
Ephesians 2:14-16 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
What used to be a very segregated society in the ancient world was brought together by Christ. His blood shed on the cross covered the sins of every man, woman, and child in all of history. Because of him and through his Spirit we are one. Skin color, cultural differences, language barriers, socioeconomic status – none of that separates us from God’s love and his desire for us to be unified.
And none of those differences should separate us as children of God. This is our job as representatives of The Way. Yes, reading these devotionals are good. They are so good for your soul. Dig deep into God’s word. It is for you! But also, go love some people. Go out into the city and hold babies who don’t speak your language. Clean floors for people who often sleep on them. Fold clothes for people who don’t look like you. Read to children who don’t yet know how- who will go to a high school far from the one you attended.
You are Jesus’s hands and feet in your beautiful city. You are living out Jesus’s mission to break down the walls that segregate us.
Think about this as you go through your day today: Why do we notice differences? Differences in people make the world a more beautiful place. How can you start appreciating differences in others, rather than comparing yourself to others to make yourself feel better about who you are or what you have? Let’s ask God to move our hearts to see others the way he sees them. May we see what unites us through Jesus.