God’s kingdom is one of diversity. God created us with such a beautiful diversity and God loves the way we continue to express that diversity. The participants of the wedding week highlighted inclusivity and diversity.
A middle aged couple travelled from New Zealand. It was Sarah’s host father when she was an exchange student there as a youth. Keith was a chef and prepared our Sunday morning breakfast with his wife, Ro.
A young lady who lives in South Korea joined us. Sarah met Salgu with Teach for America in Mississippi. Salgu, one of our wedding photographers, brought her friend, Maryam. Maryam is a beautiful Muslim young lady whose family is from Pakistan.
Sarah’s former co-worker in South Africa also travelled here for the wedding. We all enjoyed getting to know Pinky and appreciated her hard work and calm spirit.
There were friends returning from visiting family in places like the Netherlands and Israel. A couple was heading out to live in Jordan after the wedding. Others travelled from California, Washington, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois, and many other places across our country.
The diversity included people of different religious traditions including Buddhism, Islam, and agnosticism. It included different races and cultures including African-American, West Indian, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and more. There were all ages represented from babies, young children and up to my parents in their eighties. All were made to feel welcomed and valued. The week was full of storytelling, laughter, teasing, and a light-heartedness. We all had the chance to interact with people who are different than us. We experienced a "big gulp" of God’s kingdom.
My wife, Lori, wrote about it, saying:
As I continue to process the awe-inspiring commitment celebration of my beautiful daughter, Sarah, and her life partner, Ali—I have concluded the surreal experience was akin to living inside a rainbow for 3 days. There were people of many colors, ages, abilities, faiths, languages, life orientations, values, socioeconomic levels, and geographical areas. As people came to know each other, lines disappeared, blending one person into another, becoming a loving, cohesive community. And it was an experience I have seldom found in our world.
Sarah and Ali are so gifted at honoring people for who they are—not what society says they should be. I found myself feeling in awe of these two beings who live in the heart of grace and pray I can steal a bit of their approach for my own life.
Michael described it not as “a taste of God’s Kingdom,” but as “a gulp of God’s Kingdom.” Lord, Help us to erase the lines society has drawn between us and others, blending together into a loving, cohesive community.
God’s kingdom is one of diversity.