By Jessi Strong
"THE MOST SEGREGATED HOUR OF CHRISTIAN AMERICA IS 11 O’CLOCK ON SUNDAY MORNING."
Sixty years later, that statement by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is still true for many churches. But Bryan Loritts, pastor for preaching and mission at Trinity Grace Church in New York City, is part of a growing movement to guide American churches through the process of becoming multiethnic communities, and he’s hopeful about the progress he’s seen.
Lal Senanayake, president of Lanka Bible College in Kandy, Sri Lanka, grew up in a small Sri Lankan Buddhist village with 11 brothers and sisters. He laughs when he thinks back to his childhood impressions of Jesus. “The only thing I knew about Christianity was that Jesus died because he was stealing sheep. My friends and I had seen pictures of the crucifixion of Christ, and we also saw pictures of him with a lamb in his hand. So we connected the two.”
When we read the Old Testament, it’s easy to get caught up in the dramatic events of God’s miraculous work among the Israelites. Burning bushes, parting seas, and pillars of fire draw us in and inspire awe. We expect God to show up in such stories, and when he does, we marvel at his power and might. The extraordinary nature of such accounts makes it easy to overlook a seemingly simple and small book like Ruth. Yet while Ruth contains no epic stories of battles fought and won, it does contain a powerful testimony to the loving-kindness of God.