The things we place value on perish. One day here and gone the next.
The sadness of a world who witnessed the beauty made by human hands, with the wisdom and knowledge God gave men. Such an amazing structure, the architecture, the artistic design… and beauty fades… Something so ancient that served as a landmark, a point of reference for so many, is now destroyed.
A reminder that all things fade away. Sorrow and a sense of loss over everyone who feels this loss os heartfelt me.
I dreamt of one day visiting the place. Read much about its beauty. I studied the French language for 3 years to one day go and see it for myself.
This last week, it burned. April 15, 2019 will be a day to remember the falling of symbol of beauty and stability. A day to mourn a loss of something grand for the world it seems.
Amazing how our lives and thoughts can be so affected by buildings, and the art that was housed within a structure. These cannot be captured again. The lives of the Frenchmen will grieve for their country today.
Notre Dame a place where faith was sought, and many came from all over the world to witness the art work and the masterful building structure.
They will grieve for a monument that identified who they were. A structure that gave them a sense of self and a feeling of patriotism.
Let’s look at another structure that has fallen. 9-11 caused our beautiful Twin Towers to fall in my country of United States. The Long standing symbol of economic prosperity and power. A place where many looked to as the financial capital of the superpower.
In 9-11 we lost countless lives. In Notre Dame this marked the end of an era.
The many lives lost still break my heart. I am a New Yorker, an American by Birth. I love my country. It is like no other country in the world.
It is composed of a myriad of ethnic cultures. It is the melting pot of the world. Diversity is our strength. Our standard is democracy and our pride is the multicolored faces from all over the world, who came to call this place their home.
I was born in to a family who was not very outspoken about their ethnic culture and roots. It was not until I was an adult that I really understood my roots. But this was a blessing. For me going to school in the city meant, we spoke Spanish at home and mingled with all kinds of people at school and in the neighborhood. I had Latin friends from various countries, Japanese friends, Cape Verdian friends and Chinese friends. It meant we went to church in a Hispanic church but shared our lives with many different people.
It meant I grew up in a world of diversity and rich in a sense that all people were made by God. As a preacher’s kid we had missionaries that came and stayed at our home from many parts of the world. My family was always hosting someone from some other place.
Another thing my parents did was live what they preached. They took in my uncle who was a paraplegic. He had contracted polio as a child and lost his ability to walk. He also had a mild retardation that limited his cognitive functions. We grew up with all kinds of people with all kinds of issues. This meant a world of understanding that every human being deserves the same basic needs, dignity, respect, love, community, shelter and love.
These are gifts of God. Love, nurturing, community, faith and the nourishment for the body as well as for the soul.
My parents informerly adopted a young woman from Honduras as part of our family. She had been my uncle’s nurse. This made our family even more diverse.
My siblings became part of Time Square Church. Together we ministered there in the Spanish Ensemble. There We witnessed how from every walk of life and every nation, people gathered to worship Jesus together as one people. One human race.
My life here in Connecticut meant I sought a church that was also diverse. I was able to be part of New Life in Trumbull, CT. It was a diverse population. Spanish speaking and Hispanic, American, English, Brazilian, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, Haitian and from many other cultures. Some are still my friends to this day. My Brazilian friends, Pastors Sylvia and Fernando Pinto have been some of the amazing folks that remain dear to me to this day.
The church was a church of diversity and one that had a love for missions abroad. I had the privilege of going to Mexico and ministering there with a team. There we met Pastor Gabino from Vera Cruz, Mexico.
This diversity was such an important part of my life. It caused my heart to be open and my spirit to be welcoming.
This influence was so great that, when I was presented with the opportunity to help take care and foster a refugee, a young girl from Vietnam, I did. Her name was Lien Phan, later she changed her name to Lynn Phan. She became part of our family. My children were little at the time and saw her as their sister. She was a treasure to us. Our Thanksgiving Dinners were full of dishes from so many places. Diversity has always been in my heart.
I was also part of New Life Derby, a church where people came who were from varied backgrounds, Italian, Cuban, Polish, Spanish, Puertorican and Afro Americans from a variety of places.
I have also been part of Iglesia Bautista Emanuel in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This is also a place of diversity. We met people from south and central America. Diversity, like a mosaic of color and a tapestry of grace is what believers are supposed to be all about.
Diversity, I love that word. Most recently, I became connected with a brother in Lahore, Pakistan. He and his wife are servants of the Lord there. I had the privilege of preaching to their congregation via internet on Skype.
To think about being diverse, Art, Beauty, differences and a variety of cultures and languages, music, a mosaic of God’s creation…
All this does not separate us. I love my birth place, the USA. I love this diversity because it reminds me of what Heaven will be like.
Today, as I look at my lot of best friends… My inner circle, I thank God for this privilege. I have a dear friend from the Dominican Republic, Meregilda Mateo, I have a dear friend from Paraguay, Claudia Dominike Gillespie. I have a dear friend from Cuba, Elsy Cerdeira and a dear friend from Bridgeport, Connecticut and Puerto Rico, Cassandra Amoro. I have a dear friend from Ghana, Vester Appiah and a dear friend from Japan Ryoko Sakuma and my dear friends Sonia and Joe Santos from Puerto Rico. I love my sweet friend Jimna Hilaire from Haiti…
So many wonderful people God has connected me with throughout the years, amazing people who have blessed my life.
What a privilege to get a taste of what heaven will be like in the here and now.
To experience relationships with people who have in one way or another helped us along our walk of faith. This is every believer’s privilege. We are all One in the Lord.
Now to my point, Art moves us. Landmarks mark our lives. Music invites us to gather together. Places remind us of permanency and status. But we have closed our minds to the most important treasure we all have. We have people. Yes, People.
The Bible says that Jesus came for the whosoever. John 3:16 states, that, God sent his son to redeem people from every part of the globe, from every tongue and every nation. From every color and every place he longs to save them. From every language and every culture he longs that we would all be one. There is no difference in races. There is but one race. THE HUMAN RACE.
I love Romans 12:9-10, 12-13, 16, 18, 20-21.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus told us to Love one Anorher. This is how the world will know who were are and that we are the Lord’s children. They will see how we make no distinction, but rather how we love one another.
Last year we found out some amazing news we had not known before. We found out that my mom’s family on her mom’s side came from the Spaniards that were Jews. So, not only is this true on my dad’s side, but also, on my mom’s side. My mom is also of Arab descent on her father’s side. My dad is of Jeswish descent from his mother’s side and Spaniard on his dad’s side as well. So, apparently this Latin Jew, from New York, Loves people from all cultures. No wonder. Such a rich mix.
So thinking of Heaven and of the day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
I bask in this diversity today. I am cognizant of the loss of our fellow brothers and sisters from France as they mourn a loss of Notre Dame. My heart hurts for them. But I take courage in considering that the greatest Human Treasure is still Alive and Well. Lord bless America. Lord bless the United Stares of America.
Thank God for your own culture. I thank God mine is mixed and rich and diverse.
This New Yorker, always a New Yorker. So, an American Puertorican, Latin, Jewish Girl from the Bronx. Yup, that’s me. Thank You God for our variety.
For one day all people will stand before God. We will give an account for our actions. How we treated our fellow man. Not how we treated our own but rather, each other. Today I am in awe of the many beautiful faces, the olive skinned, the chocolate browns, the shades of colors from such a wide spectrum.
The variety of languages all will one day in a glorious refrain sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of Lords. We are One in the Lord. If we have claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior, if we have turned away from our sin and accepted the gift of forgiveness of sins. We are one in the Lord.