Riverside Church invites the children of Abraham, their cousins and friends to come to a place where all men are respected, and the voices of women in ministry can be proclaimed. Riverside Church is the American Church and mirrors the challenges of a multicultural and diverse nation, doing it better than most. Welcome to the conversations about religion, sacred scripture, historical reliability and the joy and freedom to enjoy the gifts and talents of each other’s minds. Riverside has the space, the talents and the resources to hold mountain top gatherings celebrating diversity.

Jesus invited thousands of people to come to the top of the mountain for a special sermon; He had the loaves of bread and fish, and plenty of wine, the question is could these people coming from different backgrounds get along? The Bible never finished telling us the story, but Jesus must have had a powerful message, and powerful leadership skills. He made them listen to His voice and His message rather than to their own voices and their own preconceived messages. Jesus did not listen to the people; the people listen to Him and His profound message. The people on that Mountain forgot who they were sitting next to and restrictions concerning who was and was not forbidden. It is in the church where the image that all men are made in the image and likeness of God must become a spiritual thought pattern. Sitting in the seat next to you will be hundreds of men and women of color and their families, and they are making a significant contribution to the church. Riverside Church as the flagship of American Protestantism, must take the leadership role in encouraging other churches to look at their multicultural populations and change the segregation and separation of God’s people. If man can work together in America, he can also pray together. Man speaks in many tongues, and God can hear the diversity of tongues, which creates the spiritual music of life.

The question is: Are the traditional Christian mainline churches really providing an open arm to a diverse population, or is the Christian Church a “white” Jesus church for people who look like a white God? The Black population thus causes the church to pay more attention to its true self. In the American experiment, the Black man forced the new country to redefine itself and to live up to the visions set down by the forefathers. The Black man is the lightning rod that constantly shakes up the society and turns it upside down when it is on the wrong path. The Black man came to the Riverside Church and ripped its seams wide open. The Riverside Church with its in-your-face approach to issues forced the congregation to look at the ugly hidden face of racism and puts it before the throne of grace for discussion. Riverside can and will handle the Black man, white man, Asian, Latino, gay or straight, and the Riverside Church will get back to the business of being the Church on the hill over looking the beautiful Hudson River listening to that Sermon on the Mount over and over again, and then going out and living the sermon in our lives.

 

 

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