Unified by Affiliation

The other day I stopped at a fast food place (not the one with golden arches) to get a snack on my way to meet my wife. I was driving down the interstate and decided to take the exit where my alma mater is, Ashland, VA. As I walked into the restaurant, I was trying to figure out which coupon to use. I finally decided and stepped up to the cash register to place my order. As I was doing this I thought the cashier, who was the shift manager, looked familiar, and his name was familiar too. I didn’t think much of it, but then all of a sudden this man looked at me and asked if I had gone to Randolph-Macon College. I responded, “Yes”. He then asked if I graduated in 2009, I said “yes”. He then asked if I had played football there my freshman year. I confirmed this information. I was beginning to wonder how this guy knew me. He then proceeded to tell me that he had recognized me from the moment I walked into the restaurant, but was unsure until he saw my full name on the restaurant’s smartphone app.

Turns out I knew this guy. He was one year behind me at R-MC. When I had known him he had a full, bushy red beard. Now he was clean shaven. No wonder I did not recognize him at first. We spent several minutes talking and catching up on what we had been up to since our R-MC student days. It was a great experience and one I was definitely not expecting. He even gave me my meal for free (I had two coupons and he gave me free waffle fries because they “fell under the friends of Randolph-Macon discount”). This experience got me thinking.

Being an alumnus of any institution is unique because regardless of age, gender, background, looks, interests, or anything else you are united to this group of people who share a common affiliation to that institution. In the secular world, we relish this connection. People go into stores and chat with complete strangers about athletics, experiences, interests, and academics. We can become instant friends with people that we never have met and honestly have nothing else in common with except this one affiliation.

This unique family idea reminds me of the church. Jesus calls us, His people, to be the church. The group that will share His message with the entire world. However, sometimes we find ourselves fractured and divided by methods, rituals, colors, worship styles, and any other thing that we can think of. Jesus says that the world will know His church by our love and by the way we treat each other. In Romans chapter 10 verses 12 and 13, Paul writes, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Jesus unites His people regardless of any other distinction or demographic. We are His people, His followers, His disciples. My prayer is that we will unite in His name and in His work and in His salvation the same way we unite over our school affiliations, sports fandom, and political party. Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was for all people who would believe and put their faith and trust in Him. He rose from the dead so that all who believe could have eternal life. It is not for a particular race or age group, but for all. Jesus unites us all. Let us stand united in Jesus and show this world how truly great He is. Just like my fellow R-MC grad recognized me and shared stories and showed kindness to me, let us, as Christians, love, support, encourage, and edify one another so that the world may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior of all. Anyway, I was just thinking…


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