I admit that my attention was somewhat divided in the early part of this morning's church service. After greeting family and friends I settled beside Hubby in our usual seating spots but instead of concentrating on the imminent expressions of worship, I found myself looking around at the diversity of our congregation. There was a good number of teens, young couples, babies and children, middle aged folk, both single or couples, and then like us, the grey-haired contingent. Breaking down the demographics in more detail, however, gave me even greater cause to rejoice.
Every week is somewhat different but here's how this Sunday's assembly looked: there are some regular attendees with physical and/or intellectual disabilities ranging from mild to severe. They're loved and incorporated as much as possible into every part of church life.
When it comes to cultural diversity there were those in attendance representing the Asian, First Nations, Italian, German, French and who knows what other, communities; we all brought our unique culture, traditions and mores to the melting pot of fellowship. When it came to attire, that ranged from blue jeans to dress pants and from baggy sweaters to suits or dresses.
Various physical ailments were represented by canes and limps. This morning a visit by new friends meant we were graced with the presence of a guide dog. How grateful I am for the privilege of interacting with individuals who have committed themselves to the practice of retaining their distinctiveness without disrupting the principles of community.
What's the point in my mentioning these differences? Simply this - there should be no exclusivity in the company of believers. During those "distracted moments" this morning I looked back on 2013 with thanksgiving and forward to 2014 with excitement.
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."