Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
To begin with, I understand that I am assuredly going to be the recipient of light-hearted yet sarcastic comments about me not understanding that I am not a kid anymore. And I am okay with that. So email away, all of you armchair satirists; I can take it.
I have a torn calf muscle, courtesy of our Thursday night basketball outreach.
It was right at six o’clock, and only three of us, me and my son and a young man named Korey, were already on the court; everyone else was either getting their shoes on or just walking in. We were playing a quick game of PIG, and I was attempting to drive to the basket from the left side, throw the ball high off of the backboard, and while it was in the air, jump to the right side, catch it, and put it in.
I had already tried twice and missed twice, so this time I was giving it everything. But as soon as I went to jump, it felt like someone had shot me right through the back of the calf. For a split second, my actual (very weird) thought was, “Somebody just drove a golf ball into the back of my leg!” But when I turned around to see who and what was behind me and had hit me, there was nothing and no one there.
That’s when I knew I was in trouble.
Caleb and Korey quickly got on either side of me and helped me to get off of the court and into a chair. By that point, it felt like someone had stuck a Crocodile Dundee knife into my calf and was twisting it sadistically. I felt myself getting lightheaded – and the next thing I knew, people were hovering over me, there was a wet cloth on the back of my neck, and voices were shouting, “He’s coming to!”
I blinked my eyes open and found faces of all shades, from pasty white to dark brown to very black, staring into my eyes. A mixture of concern and relief was written all over each one. Those guys took royally good care of me, and one of them called me two days later to check on me.
We have been building relationships with these guys for months. And, in the absence of anyone telling them that different races and ages need to be separate and hateful to each other, they stepped up to love and care for the geezer of dubious origin who probably should know better than to be trying an aerial, off the backboard put-back…
When Jesus was showing aged John the beloved Apostle visions of the future, he showed him a beautiful scene around the throne of God. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”
It is significant to realize that based on what Jesus showed John, the colors of faces we see in the world today will still be those colors in heaven. Every race, shade, color, and variety, every level of melanin will be there. And they will all be peacefully worshiping Christ together, forever.
Referencing the traditional hatred of his day between Jews and Gentiles, Paul, in Ephesians 2:14, said, “For he [Jesus] is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” The early church was a miraculous mixture of normally antagonistic races with generations of past grievances who set all of that aside in favor of their greater identity in Christ.
Knowing that such a thing is still abundantly possible today, I get so weary of the constant drum-beat of progressive racist, neo-segregationist, opportunistic voices in our land determined to divide us into warring factions. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed that “down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers” and that “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood” and of a nation where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But those lofty ideals are anathema to those who gain both power and profit from perpetual division and mistrust.
If people are not stirred up to hate each other and are instead stirred up to be one in Christ and one as Americans, Dr. King’s dream could become a waking reality. People generally tend to get along pretty well when they hang around with each other, genuinely get to know each other, and take care of each other, especially when someone somewhere has been preaching Christ to all of them.
So whenever anyone gets on the news or in a university classroom or in some corporate setting or appears from Hollywood on the flat-screen pulpit of The Church Of Entertainment and says something about race in America, the only two questions you need to ask yourself are, “Is this going to reduce divisions and tensions between people?” and “Does it line up with the Scriptural truths that we are all of one blood and are to forgive one another and be reconciled in Christ?” If the answer to those questions is “No,” then you are dealing with someone who is going to make matters worse rather than better, and you may safely ignore everything they say.
I was pretty stupid, I guess, to attempt such an acrobatic shot at my age. But compared to those who spend their days trying to “fix” the world by re-segregating everyone and teaching them to despise each other, I am a genius. But to be perfectly fair, even the person who sticks his face in a running blender is a genius compared to them.
I am going for the Tylenol now and anxiously await your best old man jokes.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his books and audio downloads are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner