By Laura Platé
Jesus was born of immigrants to an unwed mother; he drank wine, hung around with the likes of prostitutes and thieves, and committed treason against the Roman Empire. If you really think there isn’t a place for you in Christian Fellowship we need to chat.
Listen, I get it. Sometimes it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of something we have no control over. There are a lot of terms and conditions that get tossed around by fundamentalists who have cherry-picked the Old Testament without fully grasping what the message in the Gospel is. For some reason it’s okay to have a tattoo of your favorite bible verse, but women in ministry is a cardinal sin even though it says right there in Leviticus 19:28 no tattoos and Paul told everyone in Acts 2:17 that our sons and daughters shall prophesy.
Oh Pentecost. What a glorious reminder that what binds us all together into one family is the language of love. Love of God, Love of people, Love of fellowship and conversation. In a lot of ways there is no passage that gives me more joy than that of Pentecost, not just because it gives me and my Sisters in Christ the authority to get up on Sundays and do, well anything, but also because it welcomes everyone to Holy Ground. Women and me, young and old, slave and free. Everyone is welcome at that table. Everyone could hear the words of Peter. At CHBC we heard them in Karen and English. We sing together, laugh together, sit and speak intimately with one another. We listen to the voices of those who are not like us and instead of trying to fix every problem we pray together and hug one another.
It’s that type of love of community that helps us to transcend the boundaries we set up for ourselves and become better disciples of Christ. It’s that type of love that brings a church to Louisville Pride, extending our love and compassion for all of God’s children beyond the walls of our church. There are tears in those moments. There is laughter in those moments. Unfortunately, there is shock that a Baptist church is marching in the parade, but it is followed with smiles and wishes of good will. It doesn’t take much to show compassion to others; but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Listening to people though, will go a long way. Especially if you find yourself in a place of power or have ever had a feeling of superiority over others.
As a Baptist, I find that sharing food with one another is the easiest way to love other people. Everywhere you look food connects cultures and generations to one another. A recipe passed from grandmother to grandson to niece to cousin is brought to the family of a young widow and suddenly the conversation and sympathy matters infinitely less than the gesture. I was told once that you can’t explain away grief but you can feed a person who is hungry for compassion. The Tiny Humans cooked together over open flame and apart from my constant fear of someone having their eye poked out, it was an amazing moment. The adults helped the kiddos while still giving them their space to be a little bit independent. The kiddos giggled and teased the adults (mostly me, but that’s besides the point). We ate together and we listened to the stories shared over a meal cooked with love.
48 hours later several of us shared a different kind of meal with our CBF family while we worshiped altogether from close to 1,300 congregations across the U.S. of many different races and nationality. We don’t all vote the same way, we don’t all speak the same native language, we don’t all look like copied and pasted versions of each other, but we all drink from the same cup. We all eat the same bread. It’s one of the many reasons I love being my kind of baptist. It gives us the freedom to not fall exactly in step with the person to our left and right but yet still we fall to our knees at the same table where all are welcomed. We laugh together, we learn about Mr. Rogers together, we explain away our weird quirks with our Enneagram number, but still among my favorite memories of General Assemblies as far back as I can remember are of the meals we share together. What a beautifully chaotic thing it is to be loved and taught so well by these wonderful people that grace my life.
And now for a good long Pre-PassportKids nap before another amazing week with these kids who love so well…
Laura Platé is serving through Student.Go at Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Lousiville, Ky. She is one of CBF’s 25 Young Adults to Know for 2019, and you can read more about her summer ministry at her blog, www.thebeautiful-chaos.com.