I was deeply challenged recently while reading a book by a man who performed along musicians like Jimi Hendrix, John Lenon, Mick Jagger and Elton John about my own heart and what I've learnt about God, other people and the church. This man, Jimi Calhoun, wrote a book entitled A Story of Rythm and Grace about what the church can learn from Rock and Roll about healing the racial divide. He ended the eleventh chapter in a way that made me inhale slightly deeper, feel a little uncomfortable and want to change my habits. This is what I read:
"Go to the bathroom and look in the mirror. Pretend that the mirror is not for personal grooming, but an instrument of social reflection. Look closely at the image before you and say, "I am and have always been your best advocate." Now imagine that the person in the mirror is a different colour. Could you, or would you, be able to say thos same words to that mental image? If not, ask yourself why."
I didn't go to the bathroom, I didn't even look in a mirror, I didn't have to. I already knew the answer. If I smudged a little brown into my complextion and dyed my hair black and smiled the statement out to the person of another race I had composed in my mind or if I made my skin a little lighter and pulled my eyes to form slits and straightened my hair and whispered the statement I knew the answer remained the same.
I could answer without a doubt that I am and have always been my own biggest advocate but I couldn't say the same for the other races that conjoured into the mirror in my mind. It scared me. It scared me even more when I imagined myself: homeless, a prostitute and a drug addict. There was no way I could say to those people in the mirror, "I am and have always been your best advocate." Shouldn't I be able to?
I'm pretty sure when Jesus does the same exercise, he's able to look into the mirror, catch their roving eyes and say, "I am and have always been your best advocate." And then reach out to them through the glass and wipe the hair from the brows gently. I know because he does the same thing to me.
I was challenged by this musician because I want to be able to say with Jesus, "I am and have always been your best advocate" to people who I ignore in the streets, to people who don't always smell good and to people who I often think look nothing like me. However, Jesus sees all our hearts and he knows that we all look the same and that we all need him as our biggest advocate. And I'm hoping as I walk with Jesus I'll learn to be a good advocate too.