The following is an article I wrote for the Bowling Green Times, in Bowling Green, Missouris for the weekly pastor’s article on my rotation:
Recently, I was honored and privileged to go to see the musical Hairspray at the Muny. I am a huge fan of musicals much to my family’s dismay. They think Mom isn’t cool quoting from Guys and Dolls or Cats (I think I am edgy).
I know using the words “honored” and “privileged” seem strange when talking about a play much less a musical. But this musical was and is different. This musical is relevant to what is happening in today’s world even told in a light hearted and comical fashion among pompadours and teased out hair intertwined with song and dance.
This is a quote from the Executive Producer, Mike Isaacson, “…it must be written: Hairspray tells the story of race riots in Baltimore, and here it is on the stage five months after the riots in Baltimore, ten months after the events of Ferguson.”
As I sat there I also reflected this play came days after the shooting at the AME church in South Carolina that had brought tears to my eyes and a deep ache to my heart. This play was a reflection of segregation in 1962 and here in 2015 the color of our skin seems to be still in play.
Galatians 3:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
I grew up aware of racial tensions. I thought naively that we were all doing better, that racism was dying out, we were healing and then it all seemed to implode. In this past year alone; hatred, name calling, violence, riots, threats and people looking at each other with distrust. We were no longer God’s people but people with labels and pain and hurt.
The greatest commandment we have is to love one another. Charleston showed us that love when one mother forgave the man who shot her daughter during a prayer meeting. We need to stop looking at one another’s skin and begin to look at one another’s hearts.
In the play Motormouth Maybelle sings a song that is titled, I Know Where I’ve Been, and the last verse of that song is this:
I know it, I know it, I know where I’m going
Lord knows I know where I’ve been
Oh, when we win, I’ll give thanks to my God
‘Cause I know where I’ve been
I pray that we pray to God to show us how to love others that aren’t like us on the outside but are the same on the inside. I pray he shows us where we have been and that we do not lead our children away from the past mistakes and take them to the future and that we strip ourselves down to only see God’s love in one another. I encourage you to love you another and that means everyone.