There is a beautiful story about this photo, taken on April 20, 2012 in a Texas wheat field:
That’s my teenager (Timothy), next to his best friend (Gavin) and his little brother (Gabriel), who are wearing matching tee shirts. How they met, and how our families became friends, is a story for another day, and it involves providential circumstance.
Today’s story illustrates this scripture:
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise?”
(Matthew 21:16, NIV)
Here is the story: Gavin and Timothy played basketball on the same team for years, and Gabriel played on another team in the same homeschool basketball program. We often carpooled during those days, and this day was my turn to transport the boys. Gavin and Gabriel attend a Christian school run by their family, and the school’s principal is their grandfather, who is a delightful and Godly pastor famous for saying, “Bless your bones,” among other things. In the above photo, Gavin and Gabriel are wearing tee shirts from their school.
As we often did during our treks, we made a pit stop at a convenience store on that April day. The three boys went in for snacks, while I gassed up the car. When they got back into the car, and we went on our way, I listened to the following conversation:
(All were chattering and laughing, munching and slurping, when Gabriel commanded the conversation to tell us something.)
Gabriel: Ms. Stephanie, we introduced ourselves to the clerk as brothers!”
(More giggles, chatter, munching and slurping, when suddenly, Gabriel froze, and turned to Gavin.)
Gabriel: Wait a minute! Gavin, the clerk is going to know we weren’t brothers, because Timothy doesn’t have a tee shirt!”
(Silence for a moment…)
Gavin: I have a feeling, Gabriel, that there were other ways the clerk could tell.
Timothy and I didn’t say anything. I don’t know what Tim was thinking, but I can tell you what I was thinking, and my eyes misted up and I battled a sizable lump in my throat. I was thinking how Gabriel’s view should be everyone’s view, but it’s not. I was thinking how beautiful what he said was. I was thinking of the above scripture. And I was ashamed at the racism that still exists, and yes, even my part in that, whether I realized it or not, and whether it showed or not.
Fellow humans, we have a lot of work to do. And no one can do it for us. We have to do it ourselves. Fellow Christians with pale skin, we need to get on our knees, face the truth, make no excuses, and work on this with the Creator and Father of all, who said these words:
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3: 26-28, NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started my work on this issue. It keeps me busy. And I have my friends, and now my just-like-family, who happen to have dark skin, to thank for that.