Thoughts From Your Regional Minister
By Renee Bridwell
Kansas Messenger, November 2019
I want to live in a friendly world, a friendly world, a friendly world;
I want to live in the kind of world that’s kind to folks like me.
If I run short of a cup of milk and my next door neighbor’s in,
I want to know that she won’t say no to the color of my skin,
Or the place I worship in,
Or the town from which I came,
Or my great-grandfather’s name.
I want to live in a friendly world, …
If there’s a job or a place to live or a school of medicine,
I want to know that they won’t say no to the color of my skin, …
I learned the song in children’s Sunday School. Only snippets of Sunday School lessons remain — the Zacchaeus story, Jesus blessing the children – remembered, I think, because we children could find ourselves in the story.
But the songs – the songs stuck. Their message took root and still bears fruit.
As a child, I didn’t understand the hazard of having an ethnic name, or the wrong religion or being from the wrong place. But I did understand a world of kindness. I noticed adults whose words and actions didn’t measure up to what I learned from the Bible or from the hymnody that filled my young world. Other adults explained that Sunday School songs and Bible teachings were “well and good for church, but didn’t apply in the real world” where life is more complicated. They said that the Bible is just unrealistic.
Fortunately, the Christian teachings went deeper than the attempts to uproot them. Some of the adults that populated my young world believed in the Bible’s message. Because the gospel was real to them, it was real to me.
I still believe that the Bible is more real than ‘the real world.’ It fully describes humanity, faults and all, and still describes God’s vision for humanity living together in peace and wholeness.
I still long for the friendly world of the song; that hope drives my ministry. I pray that you teach this Christian vision in your church, and that you stand behind it.