As I watched the Dorchester Day Parade last Sunday, I thought about how much I love my adopted hometown. I love that there is always a Dunkin Donuts within walking distance. I love that we are home to one of the thirteen Presidential Libraries and the one and only iconically painted gas tank. I love that we have access to a great public transportation system that will take us to great restaurants, doctors, sports events, jobs, theaters and museums. I love that we have sprawling parks, playgrounds and green-spaces in nearly every neighborhood. I love the Christmas lights on Adams Street in December and the neighborhood yard sales throughout the spring and summer. I love the ocean breezes that keep the oppressive temperatures and the snowfall totals down. Dorchester is a great place to live.
When I saw the bands and floats, the politicians and the schools marching down Dorchester Avenue, I realized what I really love about Dorchester – we are a genuine melting pot. Our community is made up of people of varying languages and accents, everything from thick Irish brogues to Haitian inflections. At the parade we enjoyed the skills of Asian martial artists, island dancers, Caribbean brass band members, and Hispanic drill teams; people were shaking hands with elected officials and candidates from every demographic and ideological leaning. The best thing about Dorchester is that it is preparing me for what I imagine heaven must be like.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
One great and glorious day all that makes us different – skin tones, languages and cultural distinctions – will fade into the background and our one unifying common bond – our relationship and redemption with Christ – will be all that matters. All those who have been adopted as a child of God through the atoning work of Christ will gather before the throne of the Almighty and the Lamb of God. While we won’t all speak the same language, we will all understand together; while we will not share the same experiences, we will all know the truth. No one will care from whence you’ve come and only who has brought you to the place of purest joy.
There is great blessing in proclaiming the gospel in a heterogeneous community. Within our building we minister through three diverse congregations – one predominantly Anglo, one Vietnamese and one Hispanic. Within the Anglo congregation I am pastoring, we have, at various times, had as participants Brits, Canadians, Egyptians, Haitians, Hondurans, Jamaicans, Nigerians, Swedes, Thais and more. Despite our cultural differences, we all declare that the truth of the Scriptures: that God gave his son Jesus to suffer and die for our sins; that he was crucified to satisfy the just wrath of God against all wickedness; and that he rose from the grave and ascended to heaven. One day all who trust in him will join him there…and it will be even better than the Dorchester Day Parade!
So, what do you love about where you live?