More than a few decades ago and across this nation on the West coast, public schools did not start until the Tuesday after Labor Day and did not get out for the summer until in June. So school starting in August and especially early in August does seem strange. Things that are not part of our experiences seem a little strange and at times foreign or even wrong just because they are different from our background.
Roman Catholic friends of ours became God parents to a baby girl some decades ago. The child grew up and recently got married in Indonesia (the homeland of her parents). Included in all the festivities was the wearing of tradition wedding apparel which was not in the style of United States apparel. The God parents were invited and traveled to Indonesia and were furnished with traditional wearing apparel. The pictures of the God parents showed them looking far different than normal, but they did it out of love for their God child. Because of our love of God, there will be times, when we will need to show our love by better understanding how people different from us are still God’s children and live different lives than we think. People receiving welfare cash assistance are not necessarily lazy slobs, but may have been laid off from their work. In fact in the 20 years since States started receiving cash welfare money in block grants, many States have used much of that federal taxpayer money for other actions. In Michigan part of the welfare money is used to fund grants to help pay for tuition at private colleges of even middle income students. People with criminal records may have made one mistake and that was being in a car with someone else when the car was stopped and drugs were found in the car. What is it like to be a police officer? What is it like to have people treat you differently simply because you are short, or over weight or your skin is a different color or any number of other “differences” that set you apart from others?
The apostles were a different group of people even as we think they were all from the same area. Simon the Zealot (a patriot of Israel) was not likely to think kind thoughts about his fellow apostle Matthew who had been collecting taxes and handing them over to the occupying Romans. Somehow with Jesus’ love they were able to work together and in their situation to even travel together to accomplish what was their ministry for their time and place. May we see not differences that separate us but the love of God that brings us together.