A Bigger Table, A Bigger Dream2
After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’ (Revelation 7: 9-10).
As a child in the 1940s in rural South Carolina, my mom used to walk home during her segregated school’s lunch hour and invite black friends to come with her to eat.
In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr., broadcast his dream for sons of slaves and sons of slave owners to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
In 1945 Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to play on a Dodgers farm team, and in 1967 Dean Smith recruited Charlie Scott, the first African American to play basketball at the University of North Carolina.
The dream my mom had, though she likely couldn’t articulate it, coincides with the dream these other leaders had, along with countless more throughout history -- the dream for everyone to value one another, to play together, to fellowship without barriers. This dream is alive now, and has been since the dawn of time. The dream was born with God.
Two thousand years ago, John wrote about this dream. In Revelation 7, he envisioned a great multitude no one could count -- a multitude from every nation, tribe, race and language. This group was standing in front of the Lamb, Jesus. They were holding palm branches and were wearing white robes. They were clean, pure. They were together. They were at peace, harmonious. They were worshipping God.
John’s dream both undergirds and extends beyond MLK’s dream. The dream of unity is founded on Jesus. He brings all people together. Without him, things dis-integrate. Colossians 1:17 says, “Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Verse 19 continues, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, ...by making peace through his blood shed on the cross.”
You see, Jesus enables everyone to come together. His payment for our sin, the attitudes and actions that bring disunity, brings us back together. He reconciles ALL. The dream is bigger than blacks and whites. The dream includes Muslims and Buddhists, racists and bigots, gays and lesbians, conservatives and liberals. The dream embraces all ethnicities and breaks down all boundaries between groups we build.
The dream is big, and it demands we build bridges, not walls. To do so, we need Jesus.
Dear God, help us build bigger tables in our homes rather than taller walls in our hearts. Help us live out your dream for unity among all nations. May we serve, individually and collectively, to unite the races. In Jesus’ name. Amen.