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As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34

 Psalm 23 Resources


Sermon: It Is For All People, Eph. 2:11-22, Rev. Wright


What is it like to be a stranger? I'd like you to think about a group you're part of fairly regularly, a group in which you are different in some way from most of the other people. Maybe you're the only woman on a planning team at work, the only girl in a woodworking class, the only boy taking ballet, or the only man learning to quilt. Maybe when all the relatives get together, you're the oldest one in the room. Maybe you're the only white person in the group you're thinking of, or the only person of color. Maybe you're the only one in the group who uses a wheelchair or who is visually impaired.

Have you thought of a group where you can say, "I'm the only one"? Now, what's it like?

Several years ago I went to Liberia as part of an assessment team for The United Methodist Church. UMCOR sent us there to see how the church might respond to the tremendous humanitarian need after the civil war. As we visited some of the centers that had been set up for those who had been displaced from their homes and villages, we noticed people staring at us. These were schools, unfinished buildings and camps with grass huts where literally thousands of people lived. As we walked through the children ran after us. Finally someone said many of these children had never seen a white person. They shouted, "Take a picture of me, white man." They wanted to pose with us for pictures. They wanted us to squat down so they could feel our hair because it was not as curly or as course as their own. In that setting I understood the feeling of being a stranger, different from everyone else in my surroundings.

What was it like for our team to be so different from almost everyone else there? I was lonely. If it hadn't been for the others on our team and the few people there that I knew through other associations, it might have been unnerving. When the people spoke in their tribal languages - as many of them did when speaking to one another - I couldn't understand what they were saying. Regardless of the friendliness of the people, we were strangers in the land, strangers in a different culture... Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript