Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
December 02, 2020

I was watching the old movie, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” featuring the voice of Burl Ives the other night. One of the main principles of the movie is the rejection of Rudolph because he is not like the other reindeer.

Although it wasn’t until later in the movie that Santa discovered the real value of Rudolph’s glowing red nose, Santa always treated Rudolph with dignity and kindness. Not so with the other reindeer. They rejected him and excluded him from the fellowship and fun of the group.

Later, after Rudolph saves Christmas, everyone accepts him and they live happily ever-after. Real life rarely works like that. Many people will never accept someone that is different. When I was a kid I saw other kids picking-on and making fun of someone in a wheelchair.

They were absolutely cruel, but I did not have the physical size or emotional strength to stand-up to them. I was often excluded, picked-on, and beat-up for being different. How was I different? I did my work and was respectful to teachers. I was a serious student and that made me “weird”.

I have known many people who were excluded and reviled for being different. If an individual does not fit the perceived mold of acceptability, they are treated with contempt. The narrow, limited minds of the aggressors cannot see the value of diversity.

These limited mentalities are unable to value the differences in people and the value of diversity. For them, everything is black or white, good or bad, valuable or worthless. There is no middle ground for them.

These small minds have caused many people to walk away from their calling and gifts as a result of heartbreak. When someone is reviled and excluded, they are heartbroken.

I believe every individual is endowed with the seeds of greatness, and I am saddened by those who kill the spark of uniqueness in another person. We are called to be in community with one another, but we are not called to decide who deserves to be in that community (Thanks to former Bishop Ed for that quote).

We are commanded, not requested, to love one another as Jesus loves us (See John 15:12). That command does not leave room for judgement. It does not allow for division and dissention. It does not allow for bullying. What if Jesus is saying, “Be nice, or else!”

After all, if you believe that Christ will come again in power and great glory to judge the living and the dead, why would you risk disobeying the simple command to love one another? If you really believe that Jesus is coming again to exact final justice, how will you react when it happens?

Will you say, “Yes, come Lord Jesus!” and run toward Him? Or, will you say “Holy ****, not yet!” Sorry, it will be too late to decide then. Please be careful.

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+


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