Read: Isaiah 2:1-5
vs. 2 – In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
One day in Tanzania I drove with a friend for some hours before we veered off the road and travelled another short time over open fields. We came upon a village and he declared that he was in the village of his brother. The children gathered around our small truck and took turns touching my arm, which was resting on the truck door. My friend later told me that these kids had never seen a white man before. I asked how that was possible. He told me these kids had never left this community and that some would die here without ever stepping outside the village. I soon realised that I was not that much different as a child. Same neighbourhood, same friends, I do not ever remember a friend of colour or other visible difference from me.
High school changed things: different people, different backgrounds, different ideas. Work as a carpenter changed even more and my community grew. Becoming a Christian changed everything and my community grew again and community became more important. My Christian community began to shape me and my thinking and my outlook on life. Then Bible College, pastoral life, the mission field in East Africa and finally 9 years of travelling the world in ministry.
While I continue to hold on to the good things and loving people from my childhood background, I am thankful also to have friends across the world from a variety of backgrounds, belief systems, and experiences.
God has envisioned a much larger community than his people in Israel ever imagined. In Isaiah, he says that people from all nations will stream in. All of those people will come rushing to the Lord not because of how great they are, but because of how great God is. I am so very thankful for the rich community that I can call mine and I am sure that I have no idea how beautiful God’s eternal community will be like.
As our idea of community broadens and grows, God will bring people to us from all areas of life. They will have different backgrounds and experiences, but they will be drawn to us because of who God is in our lives. God loves people! He loves you, and he loves everyone who gathers around you. He loves your community and is the reason that it grows to include all types of people. The community that God envisions for his people is not a stagnant one but a growing one. I pray that you will be open to embrace all of the people God brings to you. It will stretch you, grow you, enrich you.
Father, open our eyes, our minds and our hearts to see the community you have blessed us with. Help us Father to be accepting of all the people you bring into our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.