One Tribe — July 30

Repentance, Racial Healing & Reconciliation, Radical Love

One Tribe is a weekly forum dedicated to open discussion of racial healing. It appears each Monday.  Contributors represent many walks of life, but have in common these foundational beliefs: (1) racism is sin; (2) only the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit can break racism’s grip and heal people and relationships; and (3) as Christians, racial healing and reconciliation are part of God’s call upon our lives.  The good news of the gospel is that all are one in Christ (Gal 3:28). May it be so!

All who hold to the above defined beliefs about racism are invited to write for One Tribe.  Please email Angie at to express interest in contributing and for additional information.

USA Olympic Team: A Vision of One Tribe

By Angie Mabry-Nauta

I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb! All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals— fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing: Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, The honor and power and strength, To our God forever and ever and ever! Oh, Yes! Revelation 7:9-12 (The Message)

Second only to the empty tomb, this is my favorite description of a scene in Scripture. This, according to John of Patmos, is a vision of the population of heaven. I love the multi-skin colored, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural gathering of folk around the throne of the One, all singing praise to the One and to the Lamb in one accord. Each are as different in heaven as they were on earth, and each are equally as victorious in giving their lives to the One, as symbolized by the white robes and palm branches.

One of my favorite things to do on this side of heaven is to celebrate and praise God when I catch a glimpse of what this heavenly scene may look like. Have you seen it as of late? I’ve seen it several times since July 27.

We are Olympic geeks in the Mabry Nauta home. A passerby would be surprised to learn that we hardly ever have our television on if s/he were to snoop on us during the two-week span of the Olympic Games. Yes, we’re one of those households that watch during the day, and then watch the highlights of the same events in prime time.

Go, Team USA! (Shameless plug, I know!)

The opening ceremony, of course, provides apt opportunity to see an earthly glimpse John’s Rev 7 vision. No, not everyone is worshiping God, but the beautiful mosaic that is the Olympic Stadium after all of the delegations have entered is a site (and sound, I imagine) to behold. All of that color (skin and fabric alike), all of those languages, all of those nations waving hands and flags. They are thrilled and proud to be there. The camaraderie of sport and humanity fills the hearts of each athlete and coach, for the competition has yet to begin. They are sisters and brothers, all of them, simply because they are Olympians.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune, July 27, 2012

I am most proud of being an American during the opening ceremony because our delegation alone is a Revelation 7:9-12 scene to me. My husband commented on this as I was thinking it the other day, almost weeping at the beauty. “I love how, if our athletes weren’t wearing their uniforms, people might not know that they’re Americans,” he said. He noted the homogeneity of several countries’ delegations in contrast to the heterogeneity of ours. I got what he was saying. Within Team USA there is a variety of skin color, and it is beautiful in our eyes.

For at least these two weeks (and I’d gather for longer, especially in the team sports), the athletes are sisters and brothers, all of the Americans, simply because they are Olympians competing for the country that they call home.

Looking at this I get a glimpse of how good it can be on this side of heaven, and how good it is going to be once God consummates all things. I thank the Lord for that vision because it is proof that indeed, we all can get along. I am moved (almost to tears, literally) because, if only for this short period of time, it seems that hatred can indeed be set aside for something more important.

I notice that it seems to help that they all have something around which to rally, like representing our country on the biggest international sports stage.

The thought just crossed my mind that all of us on our sofas have something like that, too — something around which we can rally, something important for which we can set hate aside, something that aids us all in getting along. And the cool thing is that it’s with us always, not just every four years.

That something would be the most important commandment that our Lord gave to us while he walked this earth: to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.

Hooray for the unifying glory of sport!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, for the insurmountable glory of the Lord.

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