We are so excited to have our first guest writer with us today! Gretchen is our former Children’s Pastor, and a long time friend and member of Greenbrier Nazarene! She and her family are such a blessing to our church. Gretchen has agreed to share with us an awesome story from her father, and it carries such a great message for us! When you get the time, be sure to check out her daily blog, she is a very talented writer and leader.
Every youngster loves to hear stories from their parent’s childhood. My dad had many stories to share and four eager sets of ears to listen. These vignettes from my family history guided my life choices and endeavors. It has been my pleasure and honor to write some of them down. I hope you enjoy this moment from my father’s life, that became a monument in mine.
My grandparents pastored a church in Batesville, Arkansas. Batesville is a lovely community on the banks of the White River, but in the late 1940’s it was a city divided by color.
My father tells that one afternoon a black man came walking down the street in front of the church parsonage carrying a beehive on the end of a pole. (This was how you moved bees and started a new colony.) This gentleman’s path followed the middle of the street as he was not welcomed to walk on either side near the homes. Dad and his older brother began mocking and tossing rocks at the man, but in true segregated fashion, the dark skinned victim of their ridicule meekly continued on his march without reacting to my father and uncle’s cruel behavior. Granddad interrupted the scene by calling the boys back into the yard. Nothing was said at the time, and these two young boys thought the event was over and done.
A few hours later grandmother called the family to dinner but instead of setting down to the delicious meal granddad took a warm fruit pie off the counter, called the boys to his side and began a long walk to the “other” side of town. I don’t know what conversation accompanied the trio as they journeyed block after block in the late evening sun inhaling the aroma of a dessert they would never enjoy, but somewhere along the way dad and uncle realized the wrong they had done and that disrespect to another human being for any reason would not be tolerated.
Granddad found the home of the gentleman beekeeper and waited patiently while dad and uncle humbled themselves to a black man on his front porch, on the wrong side of town in 1940’s rural Arkansas. From what I know now of these two Godly men, they didn’t just apologize, they made a commitment to a lifetime of seeing all humans as God sees them.
It is very arrogant of man to think we need to ‘correct’ God with our attitude toward one another. It has been observed that the most segregated hour of the week is from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Many people have tried to change this trend but, with the chronological and cultural preferences and tastes, change isn’t going to happen soon. Yet, we must understand and know, God didn’t create a world of monotony. He isn’t going to start making us all the same now because He realizes He did wrong thousands of years ago and He needs a redo. His plan for diversity was and is to fill the earth, grant His children blessing, meet their physical need and glorify Himself. If you take the entire love chapter (I Corinthians 13) and apply it to the complexity and diversity of the human race you can see that there is no room for prejudice. Love one another because He first loved us and love never fails!
Gretchen Rooney, Children’s Volunteer