O that with yonder sacred throng…

So the other day I was craving caraway, like in the form of caraway rye bread. So finally when I got around to it, I went down to Devon Market, and bought some “Baltic Caraway Rye” bread. I ate it with Mexican hot chocolate, and canned chipotle peppers. I thought “Only in America”. And shortly after that, I felt myself warming to this city: perhaps I could like it here. After all, it has enough layers of history and culture that I can get something from the north of Europe, and from Central America all in the same place. I tried to convince Ghost that I’d like to live in a diverse nieghborhood, but I’m not sure he got the gist of what I was saying.

In undergrad, when I was gonna take “Intro to Sociology,” my friend Dan warned me that in every class they’d about “race” and “gender”. This turned out to be an understatement. I think sociologists are a little obsessed. Later, in another sociology class called “The School, and Society”, they taught us that “diverse” was a code word, basically for one particular minority race. This reminds me of when my Mom was doing her masters in New Zealand, and she was required to have a “bi-cultural experience”. I think she said something to me like “As an American in New Zealand, don’t I do that every day?” But, what was meant by “bi-cultural” was whites relating to one particular minority. Yeah.

We know this is not what diversity ever meant to mean. (I could go on a very angry rant here about the contemporary value of “tolerance”)

I keep hearing that X neighborhood is “the most diverse neighborhood in America!!” For mulitple neighborhoods. It could be Philips, it could be Rogers Park Now, my understanding of statistics is that only one neighborhood can hold the position of “most diverse”, but what do I know?

Either way, if we compare and contrast census data from the section of Dayton’s Bluff I lived in (Census tract 331) and the section of Rogers Park I live in now (Census tract 105.03), here’s how it shakes down. In Dayton’s Bluff, “whites” sneak in as a plurality at 48% of the total population, with Asians and African Americans each hovering around 20%, and almost 3% native peoples. Rogers Park sits at 63% “white”, while Asian and African American each hover just below 15%, and native peoples at less that 1%.

If you go ahead and break it down by age, that’s pretty cool too. In Dayton’s Bluff, just a touch over 30% of the population was under 18, whereas in Rogers Park under 18s squeaked in barely at 6%. Instead, in Rogers Park, 20 to 24 year olds take the cake, at about 28%. Not too surprising, given how close it is to a university.

In my perspectives class, they made a point of saying that every language and culture has a unique aspect to add to glorifying God. There are ways you can praise God in say, Brenjak, that you can’t do in any other language.

One of my brothers in Christ has a passion for a particular ethnicity, and he’s been blessed to be given a position specifically to minister to those people. At one point, when he and I were talking, I asked whether they’d meet together with the larger campus movement, or if they’d meet separately. He response showed me that he desperately cared about reaching these people – he felt torn between two cultures, so while on the one hand, meeting separately could better reach them, there was a sense of frustration in this. His heart was for the whole body to meet together to celebrate Christ.

We know that one day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess (Isaiah 45:23, Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 14:10-12). But among the ransomed will be people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Behold, in those days we will dwell with the LORD, He will be our God, and we will be His people. (In those days also, the Tree of Life will be in our midst, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. LORD knows we need it.)

One day we will have what my brother craved. One day, all of us will meet together in perfect unity to give eternal glory to the King. John writes of that day, saying “Behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

Let every kindred, every tribe,
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all!

O that with yonder sacred throng
We at His feet may fall,
We’ll join the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all!

While we yet linger on this terrestrial ball, that ache will linger too, but LORD haste the day when with yonder sacred throng, from every tongue and tribe and nation, we at His feet will fall!

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