This past week, Misty, Davidson and I spent the Christmas break visiting Misty’s family in Tallahassee, Florida. We had an enjoyable time with Misty’s family celebrating Christmas and all of the gifts, food and other festivities that includes. On Monday, we met Misty’s sister and her family at a popular local hotdog shop, Dog Et Al.
You can observe a lot while sitting in a hot dog shop.
I noticed that all income levels came to the shop. There were business executives holding business meetings. There were other individuals wearing tattered clothing who paid for their lunches with change from their pockets. All income levels were represented. It wasn’t a place for the wealthy to gather or a place where the poor clustered. It was a place for all income levels.
Various races were present in the line to order the hot dogs. You didn’t have to be one race to fit in within the shop. Black customers mingled with white customers. The shop is fairly small so you are eating fairly close to other diners. Different skin tones shared booths, tables and counters. All races were welcome at the shop.
Within the customers, I‘m sure there were different political beliefs represented. Yet, political belief didn’t disqualify someone from enjoying their lunch at Dog Et Al. If you were Republican, you could enjoy a chili dog and coke. If you were a Democrat, you could enjoy a corn dog and lemonade. If you were independent or apolitical, you were welcome to eat there as well. No one at the counter asked about your views on Covid, the national debt, climate change or the infrastructure. All were welcome no matter what political belief they held.
As I observed the customers at the hot dog shop, I thought about the welcome we give others as the body of Christ. Do we tend to pull back fellowship from someone who doesn’t dress as nice as we do or who doesn’t have the resources with which we have been blessed? Do we ever draw lines because of someone’s skin color or race? Do we offer a surface fellowship but hesitate to get to them at a deeper level because of their background or race. Do we let political beliefs divide us from enjoying community with brothers and sisters in Christ? If we know a Democrat or Republican within the church family, do we hesitate to engage with them and keep them at a distance because we don’t agree with their politics? Do we let our allegiance to the elephant (Republican party) or donkey (Democratic party) supersede our allegiance to the love that the Lamb (Christ) wants us to offer to others? Do politics keep us from fully embracing a brother or sister in Christ?
As the body of Christ at Fairlane, I pray that we continue to love everyone who comes into our midst and with whom we engage in our local community. Rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Democrat, Republican, should never be barriers to those needing the love of Christ.
Let us continue to love and share the grace and kindness of Christ with everyone. I hope our church family looks like a hot dog shop.