Nearly ten years ago, I approached this railroad crossing with our Presbytery executive (Presbyterian version of a bishop) and he shared with me that one of the things that the church I was going to serve needed to do was “move across the railroad tracks.”  In this case it wasn’t a cliche, but it was the literal truth.  These railroad tracks separate the community I live in from another community that is significant different.  It is different racially, economically, even physically.  On road in (which doesn’t have the railroad crossing) literally widens ever so subtly as you cross from one community into another.  Over the years, I learned about the history of these communities and saw how this wasn’t just an issue for this one church but was something that had been a divide for decades upon decades.  These railroad tracks are a physical reminder that our communities are divided.

I don’t need to remind any of us about the divisions that exist in our country and our world right now or to recount what they are.  In my readings from Romans yesterday and today, I heard a clear reminder from Paul about what we are called to be and do as the church seeking to live out the Kingdom of God in our world.  Romans 8 has one of the most encouraging passages in all of Scripture in my opinion that speaks of how NOTHING can separate us from the love of God through Jesus.  NOTHING.  There are no railroad tracks that can separate us as people from God.  Even though Paul has just spoken of sin and its effects in chapter 7, chapter 8 reminds us of how God has broken down that division.  But that’s not all that Paul says.  When we get into chapters 9-11, he starts widening the circle to people groups – Jews and Gentiles – two groups that had been long separated.  Romans 10:12-13 says, “For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When I look at this picture, I know what side is which because I’ve lived here for 9.5 years and have been over these tracks time and time again.  But for someone who doesn’t know these communities, it is hard to tell which side is which.  That’s I think what the Kingdom of God lived out ought to be like…


Categories: Community, UnityTags: , , , , , , ,

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