Two nights ago I went to see the musical “Memphis” at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. This powerful theatrical production tells the story of a poor white illiterate man named Huey who determines to bring black R&B music to white world of Memphis, Tennessee during the racially divided 1950’s. Productions like this remind me of how fresh the racial divide was/is in this country. Just 50 years ago schools, water fountains, and people were divided solely on the color of their skin. Blown away by this concept, I found myself in a conversation with a man (in his late 70’s) who was from a small town in Oklahoma that did not allow African-Americans to live there during the time he was growing up. This level of prejudice is hard for me to comprehend, and makes me quite emotional just to think about it.
One of the many notes that struck a chord with me from “Memphis” was what unified people (regardless of skin color) instead of segregating them by skin tone. The musical points out that music unified the masses. People loved good music, regardless of the color of who was singing it. Because of this, Huey helped launch a local black singer, Felicia, to a successful national career despite the prejudice that dominated the deep south. In the show, we celebrate the power of music to overcome this hatred.
In our world today, this cultural observation of Broadway also sings out. For the past 50 years, sports and music have increasingly united the land of the free and the home of the brave. On a ball field or in a music studio, measuring sticks are used that do not consider the subjective prejudice of man. Good music is good music; a home run is a home run; harmony is harmony; and a touchdown is always worth 6 points. When the playing field is level, diverse people have equal opportunities.
I was thinking of this point today as I was putting the finishing touches on my sermon for Sunday based on Romans 12:3-8. This weekend we will look at these six verses and see what unites fellow Christians . . . though believers are quite diverse. What measuring stick do we use to unite those who call on the name of Christ, and how do we keep from making any one person in the church more important than anyone else? We will look to answer these important questions on Sunday. Hope to see you there at either the 9:30 or 10:50 service at Wildwood Community Church in week two of our series, “Therefore.”