We are more alike – and why we need to remember that

Let us begin with a little Maya Angelou

Human Family

By Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

In Church the last few weeks I have begun by saying, “We are more alike than we are different”. At Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Salem, Oregon, we’ve used our Advent season of becoming to look at two different cultures- The Latino culture and Our Lady of Guadalupe(Sunday, Dec 9), and the Scandinavian culture and Saint Lucia (this Sunday, Dec 16), and the stories have so much nuance that remind us over and over how much we have in common. Service. Love. Respect. Light. Community. These are the building blocks of Christian community my friend. Yes, I think they are the building blocks of ALL community, but I am very concerned that the Christian community will run itself out of business quite soon. We are irrelevent unless we grapple with the essential truths of our age – we are more alike than we are different.

I am so glad to be the spiritual person I am. I love liturgy (it’s ok if you don’t), I love to hear the scriptures read and I enjoy watching children claim ownership in community by serving at communion, or participating in skits, or just by being loved for who they are. I love seeing the elders in our society engage with scripture yet make room for the younger, the more skeptical, the ones who are still testing, trying and making their way.

I am a person who loves the church. And I will continue to love the church, so long as she continues to embrace all the differences out there – not just age or education, but sexual orientation, class, and mental healthiness or lack of it. We must embrace my friends, or we will be grasping at the smoke from our doused candles.

We are more alike than we are different. And we belong together on this big blue marble. Amen. – Pastor Patricia+