As our mission team made its way through the airport in Atlanta, we received several quizzical looks and a few questions. Most people wanted to know if we were actually traveling with each other or if circumstances had somehow conspired to bring two people wearing Alabama colors together with two people wearing Auburn colors. (I was tempted to tell them it was circumstances and see where the conversation would go from there).
But I didn’t. I told them we were traveling together and usually threw in something about having unity despite our obvious diversity. I have to admit it was fun to see the surprise on people’s faces as their stereotypes were challenged.
We’ve been in Romania for five days—not that long, but long enough to see that while Romanian people are different in many ways than Americans, they are not that different. There is a core group of young people at the church we are working with and they like to watch movies, play card games (especially Canasta), and hang out with each other. They have cell phones, listen to music, and have lots of energy. In Bible class Sunday morning, the lesson was about Peter and John sharing the good news of Jesus in Samaria (Acts 8), and that prompted some lively discussion about the Holy Spirit. Does any of this sound familiar? Of course it does! It is only when we look past our similarities to highlight our differences that they really become an issue.
if you stop and think about it, we’re all traveling through an airport. Earth is not our true home or destination. Traveling alone is no fun. Traveling with others though necessitates that we learn to look past our differences and embrace our shared values. When Christ is what we have in common, there is no excuse for anything less than unity. Not only do we need it, but the world needs to see it.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me,” (John 17:20-21).