A corollary English language idiom to our series title phase “the other side of the tracks” is, I suppose, some version of being “on the wrong side of the tracks.” The picture this evokes is of a person from the wealthy side finding oneself on the other side and thereby feeling in some measure of potential danger. Or conversely, it is the person from the poorer side raising some sort of suspicion by wandering around the richer neighborhood.
While recognizing these phrases are used as written above, my purpose for the chosen title is not so much to present a scenario of better or worse, richer or poorer … rather I’m speaking of it primarily as what is different – looking beyond ourselves in the largely white, conservative, evangelical church community. At times we will be talking about “across the tracks” differences due largely to racial backgrounds and cultural differences of fellow Christian people. However, at other times the conversation will be talking also about looking beyond ourselves to see people who are yet to trust in Christ and the message of the gospel – be they racially or culturally different than ourselves.
For this series to come home to our understanding and make sense logically, I think we need to lay out the component parts from beginning to end, recalling the map from time to time over the next four weeks (and five sermons). So today is a preview summary.
There really are four major ideas, as listed with the titles and descriptions below. The middle week is a sort of excursus into a supplemental idea …
- The Forever Heart of God for the World – God has always cared about all peoples.
- Seeing the World through the Eyes of Jesus – Jesus cared about all peoples, not just the Jewish nation.
- Centurions Then and Now – Many people are interested in and drawn to the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done to make all peoples one.
- The Worldwide Vision and Expanse of the Church – This is the way the church grew – not just Jews, but Gentiles, with the call to take the gospel to the corners of the earth.
- On Earth as it is in Heaven – Our final destiny is one where all the nations are represented, so why can’t we live with a taste of that now?
Summarizing that in a sentence as we did yesterday, we can begin to answer today’s question, “Why should we care about people on the other side of the tracks who are different than us?” The answer is because: This is the forever heart of God, it was the pattern of the life of Jesus, it was the spirit of the spread of the gospel in the early church, and it is our destiny for eternity to be with every tribe of people.