She was nervous about her first day of work, but she was thankful for the job. Her and her husband had started a family and they needed all the income they could get. Yet, she was still afraid.
Her and her husband were up early. Kids off to school. Then to the bus stop to catch their buses each going in opposite direction. They wouldn’t see each other until evening.
Nervously she made her way into the shop where she would be working. The man who hired her didn’t say much as he showed her where to go and what to do. She could feel all eyes watching her as she began to work. A lady nearby greeted her, “Good morning.” She smiled and nodded in return. Later at break time, the same lady introduced herself and asked her where she was from.
Now came the moment she dreaded. As she told the lady her name and where she was from, the others standing near who heard her began to laugh.
She looked different and talked different. Her accent betrayed the fact that English wasn’t her first language. They laughed at her because she was part of a people group they didn’t understand, and whom many saw as a threat.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this story. It’s not only true, but it’s about someone very near and dear to my heart—my grandma.
Grandma was from Norway, and in the 1930’s her and my grandpa moved from the farmlands of North Dakota to Portland, Oregon. Many of the experiences they had living, raising their family, and establishing themselves remind me of what Latinos face today.
Latinos, and other minority people groups, are viewed by many as a threat. “They’re taking our jobs!” some will argue. But the core of the issue isn’t jobs, it’s the collision of different cultures. We don’t understand those who are different, and we fear that which we don’t understand.
Being led by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote…
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:28)
God is saying that in His church, in His kingdom, and therefore in the hearts of His people, there should be no distinction of anyone that places them at different levels of acceptance. There must be room for everyone, especially those who are different.
Someone might dread going to work, or somewhere else because they are different, but let never be said that it’s the church.