The Devotion to Christ – In Jesus’ view, we are all brown

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By Brian Cook

It was always intimidating walking into a new church with my family. Most of the time, we were greeted, asked to tell about ourselves, asked to fill out a card and asked to stick around after the service to meet a few people.

Not at this church. We were not the focus, which was refreshing. Even more refreshing was looking around and noticing every shade of brown skin of the attendees, and in a large degree. I immediately thought of Revelations 7:9, where “every nation, from all tribes and tongues” were “standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

This heavenly picture in Scripture was actually being represented in a local church? What’s more, all these shades of brown people, many of whom speak English as a second language, were all gathered in one accord in quiet prayer before the altar and before the Lamb, waiting with anticipation.

Why do I say, “shades of brown?” I am the father of a “Black” child, a “mixed” child and three “white” children in a mixture of biology and adoption. These facts, as well as my religious faith, led me to teach my children that we are all brown – dark brown, light brown and medium brown, not just in our family but all families and all people. 

Feel free to study out the current science, but humans do not have races — we are the human race. What’s more, our race has one skin color -— brown. Using “red, brown, yellow, black and white” is incorrect, even if it is in a well-meaning Christian children’s song. We simply have differing degrees of melanin in our skin as accurately taught in another Christian song “Colored People” by DC Talk.

This truth is simply too much for “the world” to accept as it serves their purposes better to keep us divided. But for the Catholic Church, and for the spread of the Gospel, our faith must hold tightly to Revelations 7:9, which contains a heavenly vision played out in every Catholic Mass in every Catholic Church all over the world. In effect, Babel has been repealed by Pentecost.

In Christ we are equal; all the walls of separation that the world creates are torn down. Thus, in Galatians 3:28, Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul highlights that “equality” can only be found in Christ.

Equity, which by definition guarantees equal outcomes no matter the differences in effort and ability is a cheap substitute devised by the world to highlight our differences and foster racism (Jew and Greek), classism (slave and free) and sexism (male and female). But in The Church of God, Jesus Himself has put those things away and made us equal in Himself alone, but not “the same,” as our roles differ according to our calling, qualifications, and gifting (Romans 12:4). No, not the same, but equal.

Even more than that, the Apostle Peter calls the Church a race and a nation: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Have you ever thought of Christians as a race? We are proud of our nation, and rightly so, but have you ever thought of the Church as a nation? It is Jesus who declares that His kingdom is not of this world, so the Apostle Peter brings that truth down to our level for the formation of our minds and hearts.

The Church of God must be the picture and the promise that we can be united completely, but only in surrender to Christ. Or, in the words of Jesus, “Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name, which Thou hast given Me, that they may they be one, even as We are One” (John 17:11). Christian theology allows no division within the Trinity and no division between the worshipers of the Trinity. Rather, we are to be completely united: one Church, one Name and one color. In Christ, we are all brown.

Brian Cook is a Cropwell native and a graduate of Pell City High School, Gadsden State Community College and studied music and history at Jacksonville State. He and his wife Hope have five children. They attend Saint James Catholic Church in Gadsden. He is available for speaking and teaching engagements in any parish, church, or group setting. He may be contacted at thedtc@protonmail.com or thedevotiontochrist@gmail.com.

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