One of the most delightful aspects of spring is new growth. One need only take a brief walk through a garden or woods to discover the beauty of new life at every turn.
As I look at the beauty of God’s creation, I am also struck by its diversity. Have you ever noticed that no two trees are identical? Each is unique, a one-of-a-kind creation. God does not mass-produce anything. He takes the time and effort to form each branch, each leaf, each petal.
Only a God who loves diversity would create a world in which every rock, every plant, every animal, and every person is unique. Unlike people who make things plumb and straight, God makes things that bend and curve. It is easy for even the untrained eye to identify manmade objects among the things that God creates.
Since God is such a master of diversity, why is it that we, created in God’s image, have such a difficult time embracing it? Why do we tend to cluster into groups with those who most closely resemble us? Considering the many ethnicities God created, our desire for uniformity seems to fly directly in the face of nature.
On a recent visit to Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, I noticed a poster in a stairwell near the library. The poster contained only one short statement: “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it today.”
It was wonderfully simple, yet powerfully profound. Each of us is unique. Together we are completely diverse. God made us all in his image, but each with our own passions, desires, needs, personalities, cultures, and origins.
My wife and I have been blessed with seven grandchildren (number eight is on the way!). Though they are still very young, there is no doubt that each child is unique. When they are all in the same room with “Papa” and “Nana,” we have no difficulty telling them apart. We know each one by name, and we find their diversity delightful. We love them all—unconditionally.
That’s how our Father sees his children. When we gather around God’s throne, he knows each of us by name. God knows who we are and what we are like. God knows all our idiosyncrasies and loves each one of us—unconditionally.
So why can’t we all get along? Often we act more like children fighting over toys in the sandbox than like brothers and sisters in Christ. Why is it that the CRC needs an Office of Race Relations if we are all part of God’s family?
The simple answer is sin. We are sinful people who do not play nice in the sandbox. We fail to see people of other ethnic groups as fellow imagebearers of God. And we fail to value them in their diversity from ourselves. We too often see culture before we see Christ. We are prone to judge others for being different from us rather than recognizing our shared citizenship in God’s kingdom.
Is it possible for us to see God’s world through God’s eyes? Perhaps that is not possible, but now would be a good time to try.
The poster in the stairwell at Redeemer expressed itself well, but perhaps you and I could say, “In our diversity, Christ is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate him today.”
About the Author
Jerry Dykstra served as the executive director of the Christian
Reformed Church in North America from 2006-2011.