We are told of an incident in the life of St. Peter. He had a vision of clean and unclean animals being lowered to earth from heaven on a picnic blanket. A divine voice told Peter to eat. In this vision he refused to eat the unclean things. The voice from heaven, though, said, “Don’t say that the things which God has made clean are impure” (Acts 10:15 God’s Word). The vision repeated twice more to emphasize its importance.

English: Peter's vision of a sheet with animal...

Peter’s vision of a sheet with animals, from Acts 10; illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop, “Treasures of the Bible,” published 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter explained it to mean that a bigot must drop racist attitudes. Following Jesus means to love those outside your race, just as the Christ/Messiah did.

Now the Bible forbids racism (or bigotry) of any kind. “There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28 God’s Word).

And when you chose one Christian over another you show contempt for Jesus who thanked God that none of the sheep was lost (John 6:27).

Despite these orders from God the church has, historically, shown extreme bigotry. The justification varies from, “We have a right to make a church for our own race” to “We have to chose between you and another, and you lose”.

Each group determines who deserves to go to heaven and be a full member in their elite cabal. All others receive condemnation or exile from the inner circle.

Well, even though racism isn’t funny, I can’t resist grinning when I think of heaven. There you come, ready to spend eternity with Jesus, who will probably still look like a Jew. Bishop Tutu, whose black skin nearly glistens, will sit beside you in the choir. Watchman Nee, that inspiring Chinese Christian, will teach you how to cast your crowns before the Lamb on the throne. Kateri Tekakwitha, known as Lily of the Mohawks, will walk beside you everyday.

Since eternity goes to everyone in the Book of Life, maybe you better start getting used to the large and diverse crowd of friends God has here.