Sharon Kinsey's Blog
This month, our Faith Formation (“FF”) Team is sharing a unit on honoring God’s diversity from the Follow Me curriculum. This past Sunday, we gathered – children, youth, and adults – to share our own experiences and pray for God’s guidance as we seek to be more intentional about welcoming and celebrating all His creation.
We drew portraits of our households and discussed what makes ours unique, and how we are the same. We talked about how different cultures use different breads to celebrate Communion – participants sampled naan, matzoh, pita, pumpernickel, cornbread, and a French baguette. How are the breads alike, and how are they different? We sang “God Welcomes All,” and read Genesis 11:1-9 which tells the story of Babel. During our discussion, we wrestled with why God created so many languages and scattered his people throughout the world. Were these actions a gift?
As our FF team was planning for the month, I shared a story from my own life experience that has stayed with me for a long time. When we first moved to Valpo, our son, Tom, asked if one of his friends could live with us for a while since his family was moving to Indianapolis, and we said yes!
That first summer, we took him with us during our summer vacation back East. He had never been outside of Indiana/Illinois and we were excited to show him our roots. He loved the mountains of Pennsylvania, was lukewarm about pizza with a thin crust, and really didn’t like the ocean (“too salty and rough!”). Next, we headed into NYC to visit our son, Matt. Coming up out of the subway to the lights on Broadway left him speechless. He recognized that the rhythm of this city was quite different from Chicago – a faster pace, louder, edgier. We took the ferry over to see the Statue of Liberty. As we pulled away from land, I told him to close his eyes and listen – how many languages did he hear? Were we all wearing denim and logo T-shirts? I thought to myself, everyone is created in the image and likeness of God, indeed. I think our young friend was simply amazed.
Years later, my Dad was in the CICU at Washington Heart, in D.C. As we waited for word from his doctors, we sat together in the waiting room. Again, we saw many different cultures, languages, and faces. Someone said the rosary, some spread their prayer rugs on the floor, some held hands or read their Scripture. We were different yet we were all seeking comfort from the One who cares for us and for our loved ones.
So, let’s remember we are called to honor diversity, to affirm those who are marginalized. Starting with the Creation stories in Genesis 1-2, the pages of the Bible are full of various kinds of writing, contexts, perspectives, voice, people, and customs. One author, Daryl Wingerd, tells us that Jesus celebrates diversity with unapologetic enthusiasm, even when he’s criticized for it. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.