2900 County Barn Rd. Naples, Fl. 34112

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The Other

We had the opportunity to visit the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone on vacation earlier this month. We did a fair amount of hiking during the visit as well as viewing many of the photo op places in the parks. One of the things that happens in a national park is you meet people from all over the world not just people from this country. Walking on a trail or stopping to admire the beauty of nature you often speak to those on the trail or next to you. Sometimes English is not their primary language. It doesn’t matter everyone is there for the beauty of nature. You can’t make the assumption that because a person has the same skin tone as you that they speak the same language. We encountered a number of Europeans on the trip. Their heritage is similar to ours but they do not speak the language we do. One does not have to go to a national park to experience this, just go to Naples Pier and sit there for a while.

The point is we look only at the surface of another person all too often and judge them by skin color, language, dress or any number of other things. When we find ourselves doing that it is an ‘ism’ at work in us. If we look at skin color and judge a person, it is racism. One of the blessings of being in a national park is that the ‘isms’ we often see and feel are not as evident because we are there as tourists admiring the beauty of the parks.

Racism is the most prevalent ‘ism’ in the news today. In many ways it seems as though we are going backwards in our acceptance of the ‘other.’ The other is to be feared. Sadly those feelings seem to ebb and flow throughout human history. Someone is always in fear of the ‘other.’ Racism and humanity’s other ‘isms’ have been and are a part of who we are as humans. Every so often racism rears its ugly head in what we think are new ways. But if we look at human history, there is nothing new under the sun.

The one who gave us the example of how to live as humans is Jesus. He reached out to the ‘other’ all the time. The people that society shunned at the time of Jesus, he reached out to and broke the social barriers of the day. In essence that is what we see happening on the news today as people try to counter racism with love for another.

A long time ago I tutored children after school. One girl I tutored was in first grade. I would go their home and tutor after supper. The family was from Puerto Rico. As the time to end the tutoring came the family said to me that I was the first person who came into their home in the six years they had lived there who treated them normally. That just saddened me. But how often do we look at a person and judge them because they are different than us? The answer is all too often. Learn from Jesus, we are all made in the image and likeness of God regardless what country of origin we come from, the color of our skin or any else that we may see as different. If we continue to learn to love the other as Jesus did, this world will be a better place.

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MAYFLOWER CONGREGATIONAL UCC

2900 County Barn Rd 
Naples, Florida 34112

Office Hours: 
8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mon - Fri.

Sunday Worship 9:30
            Refreshments 10:30

Church Phone: 239-775-0055
Fax Number: 239-775-3253

Pastor Alan's Cell: 239-227-8500

office@mayflowernaples.com
pastor@mayflowernaples.com

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