My last few blogs have been about the same-gender debate that has consumed the energy and resources of our church for far too long. I wanted to write about something different this time but there it was again, that word difference, different and no matter what way it is used it always moves to dissention. You can even find dissention in the pews. “That’s where we always sit, they must go to a different service, and I have never seen them here before. They probably like the different music at that service.” Ah…yes, even among we Methodists and our great hymn singing tradition and the over 6000 hymns Charles Wesley wrote, there are those that want something different.
I guess I am getting tired of differences as it seems to be that by just adding one letter “s” we find ourselves deep in dissention. God has a way of slapping us in the face and we never see it coming. I just got slapped in the face and want to share with you the miracle of different. This is always a busy time of the year for me even though I am retired. For the past eight years of my retirement I have spent a great deal of time with some folks that are different. I have been blessed to be a part of a different world filled with special people whose difference does not define who or what they are. Their difference has made me a better person and created in me a heighten awareness that there is always a purpose in anything that God has done or created, and it is good. God himself said that. So what is this about? Special needs folks, Down syndrome and Autism the very nature of which makes them different.
So where is this Miracle of Difference? The love they have for life, other people and the trust they have in others, although I will tell you, you have to earn it. Faith, in God and their love for Jesus is honest and without conditions; I have been with them in Chapel service and bible study for six years now and I have seen the miracle God has wrought through those who are different in many ways but love and accept without condition. I am reminded of a great old hymn:
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love,
By our Love,
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

I invite you to visit the Trousdale School website (http://www.trousdaleschool.org/) and meet these remarkable men and women. Their presence in my life, their difference demands the very best of me and they have made me a better person. There are some very serious differences in our church today. Maybe we should pray for The Miracle of Difference.

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