American businessman and writer Max DePree wrote: “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”  I’ve tarried with this quote for an unusually long time, knowing that at some point we’d include it in one of the evening reflections.  It seems to us that there is wisdom in Max’s (not that we were on a first name basis with him) observations. There is much to reflect in these 43 words, first… space to grow, to be ourselves and to exercise our diversity. That’s rich and raises meaningful questions to ponder. (A brief pause to encourage you not to get caught up with the word “diversity.” It’s not a liberal code word. Neither do we have to equate diversity with “race” and “culture.”) Diversity is defined in the dictionary as “the condition of being different.” There are other of synonyms you could use as well.
What does it mean for us to exercise our differences?  Evangelical – Mainline. Mask – No mask. In classroom learning – virtual or homeschooling. Fall football – No fall football. Fox news – MSNBC.  King James – New Revised Standard Version.  Rays – Yankees. We could go on and on and on.  The greatest thing we have going is that we’re diverse and the hardest thing we have to address is our diversity.  To cultivate a space (or for us as Pine Shores – a place) where differences can be valued and celebrated orientates us toward God’s desire for creature, creation and community. Valuing diversity recognizes differences between people and acknowledges that these differences are a valued asset.
As we linger in these days where so much negative energy is being espoused and exposed, let’s be persistent in the ways we value others.  In God’s eyes, remember we are all received as highly valued assets.

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6-7
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Reflection Questions:
How are you growing in these day of the lingering pandemic?
What does diversity mean to you?
Who are the people that helped you establish your faith?

Prayer: Holy God, keep me mindful of how much you value me and let me not be lured by the powers and principalities that divert my affinity toward living a more excellent way. Help me to celebrate the differences of others. Amen.

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