What a colourful world we live in. Archbishop Ted Scott (RIP) who was the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1971-86 once said that what unifies us is our diversity. He coined the phraseology “unity in diversity.” I quite admired Ted Scott. In many ways he was the social conscience of the Anglican Church of Canada. Many may not know what a great friend he was to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and how closely he worked with him to secure release for Nelson Mandela.
I have been thinking of Ted Scott today. I was reading my book The Joy of Loving – Mother Teresa. I landed on this quote.
“Let us be very sincere in our dealings with each other, and have the courage to accept each other as we are. Do not be surprised or become preoccupied at each other’s failures – rather, see and find in each other the good, for each one of us is created in the image of God.”
Diversity and difference are such important elements of who were are as a people of God. That may seem a very foreign idea to some. I have in many places and environments heard tonnes of conversation amongst the people of God who maintain that they are the righteousness. In fact if I were to be honest, I would have to say that I participated in those conversations. Of course we are not that direct about it. It is more subtle. We usually find ourselves there when we begin to tear down the other – when we point out those around us, who are not like us to be the ones who are “different.” We throw around words like normal as if we are… (Normal I mean). The irony is that Christ calls us in the most direct and profound way to be abnormal. We are called to look for the differences in order that we might celebrate them. Instead we find ourselves woefully mired down in others failings and preoccupied with them to the point that we often write people off.
I was once asked to take a piece of paper and draw an image of God. Try that sometime. It was so hard. It would have been easy when I was a young lad. God was an old guy with a big white beard…wait a minute that sounds a lot like Santa. Well in any event, when you consider that we are all created in the image of God the picture becomes hard to draw. The image becomes hard to define. The image is too diverse, too profound, and too full for any one sheet of paper, any one colour, any one shade, or one dimension. The image is big and all encompassing.
We talk in categories of gender, race, orientation, class, wealth and privilege. We put people into pigeon holes and generally none of us fit well in one category. God is found in every one of those categories. It is time that we all evaluate how we might remove the lines that divide. Our preoccupation ought to be with how loved and redeemed and forgiven we all are. Failures are a part of life. Who really needs to be preoccupied with that? Especially when we are a people redeemed and forgiven. Let us "have the courage to accept each other as we are."
I quite liked Ted Scott and Blessed Mother Teresa. They are both missed. Lent is a great time to learn from the Saints who have walked before us.