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Day 38 | Diverse – Application

Read Galatians 2

In my childhood church, there were several deeply entrenched traditions. For example, on communion Sundays, the elements were prepared in special plates which were passed around so everyone could grab their own communion wafer and little cup of juice. Then the pastor led us through taking the bread and juice, all together, to remember the body and blood of Christ. The first time I visited a different kind of church on communion Sunday, my world was shaken. At that church, everyone waited in line to see the pastor, who administered the elements to each person. There was the familiar juice in a little cup, but the rest was unfamiliar. The symbolic Body of Christ was a fluffy loaf of bread which the pastor pinched off a bit at a time, and each person took the elements on their own before walking away from the altar.

That day, my confused, very young mind received a lesson about the Church’s diversity in culture and practice. Both ways of taking communion were okay, which helped me recognize the Church doesn’t look the same in all places. We should be willing to accept diversity among God’s people, instead of criticizing them or telling them they’re wrong when they do things differently than we’re used to.

The life of Peter helps us learn not to be hypocritical. We shouldn’t change the way we treat people based on who else is around. In Galatians 2, Paul tells of confronting Peter for this kind of behavior—not just because it was bad for him but because he was leading others astray by his bad example. Just as others watched Peter, people are watching us too. The more open-hearted we remain with other churches, the more God can use our differences to help people come to know Christ.

Pray for opportunities to get outside your church culture and support others.