The Church

Bias begets prejudice. Prejudice begets hate. To get out ahead of hate, we must recognize our own bias. According to dictionary.com, bias is a particular tendency, feeling or opinion—especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned. We often see bias played out by others but rarely recognize our own. Come with me to church where God blessed me with 20/20 vision.

The Church

I went to church in church today
And you’ll never believe
What I heard when I prayed.

I was minding my business, when a young man came in;
He was interesting looking
Tall, lanky and thin.

He sat to my left, on the row just ahead
So I could see him quite clearly,
This boy with bed head.

The kid was tatted, neck, arms and hands
His ink told a story—
One I don’t understand.

He was pierced in his nose, his tongue and his ears
For a man in his teens
He’d seen a lot in those years.

‘What life must he live, what redemption he seeks?’
I wondered to myself
As I sat poised in my seat.

When we welcomed each other with handshakes and hugs
It was then that I realized
This kid’s not a thug.

He turned and smiled, “Peace be with you”, he said.
I replied, “Peace to you”
As my soul slowly bled.

I realized at once, I had judged him you see
Just by his appearance ‘cause
He was different from me.

At confession, I prayed, “Forgive me my sin.”
The Spirit said, “Yes,
But let us begin:

“Let’s remember that Jesus had “ink” on his back—
Those stripes from the whips
From the soldiers’ attack.

“Remember the piercings— from nails, thorns and spears?
The crowds, their misjudging,
The yelling and jeers?”

I prayed, “I remember, oh, help me correct
When I jump to conclusions,
When I quickly reject

“Those who are rare or different from me.  
Remind me that they‘re
Just as pleasing to thee.

“Open my eyes, my heart and my soul
To see others as You,
Not through lenses of old.” 

As we left, our eyes locked—now I could see!
And I’m sure it was Jesus
Who looked back at me.

Ellen Miller