If I was not a preacher I could very easily have been a cartographer. I love maps. Since I was a child, I have collected maps of various sizes, shapes, and types. I own maps of the world, of continents and countries, of states and cities, or forests and mountain ranges, and of national recreation areas and amusement parks. I am fascinated by the shapes of continents and oceans, by the texture of terrain, by the winding borders of countries and states, and by the vastness of the world.
The maps I won represent more than the elements of geography and physical science. Indeed they represent the vast numbers of people that live on this globe. Each corners of the world is unique and special. Each nook and cranny is home to a group of people--nations, races, tribes . . . and families. Cultures vary from border to border, from continent to continent. traditions, heritages, world vies, languages, and the ways of life change as you move across the lands and over the seas. Diversity is the rule of the world; a wonderful blend of color, personality, and thought.
However, the diversity of the world has been offered common ground. The prophet Isaiah declared:
A voice cries out:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of Yahweh,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of Yahweh shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken" (Isaiah 40.3-5).
With these words John the Baptist proclaimed the imminent coming of the Messiah (Luke 3.4-6)--God's anointed One, Jesus Christ--who would bring all faithful men and women into one family, one household, one nation, and one body. Boundaries would be dissolved, differences would be blended, peoples would become a people. One community would be formed from many (Ephesians 2.14-17).
The next time you look at a map, consider the diverse peoples who call our world home. Then, remember the Gospel of peace that calls all faithful men and women into one fellowship.