By Ron Wood / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
I know how it feels to be the only white person in the room. You get noticed!
In this case, it really felt good to be there. Although I was of a different skin color and I was dressed casually, it still felt good to me was because I could sense the strong presence of the Lord and I could enjoy myself.
I had been invited to be there by my friend LaBaron Hegemon. He is the pastor of Freedom Rock Fellowship Church on 5th Street in Meridian. He has ideas that will bless his church and bless this city.
Let me ask you: have you ever been in a Christian worship service where you were so uplifted that you felt strengthened, exhilarated, and even delivered? That was the gospel experience in which I shared. I am quite sure the devil was very uncomfortable in that setting while the angels of God were dancing for joy.
Understand I am not talking about anything undignified. No, it was holy and happy. The exuberant singing wasn’t for show. It was from the heart and sincere. The preaching came right out of the Bible. It was true and relevant. Plus it had notes of divine insight that struck home to my life.
My wife was jealous because she didn’t get to go. She would’ve loved it! She went to South Africa to minister among black Christians before apartheid ended, well before me. We went in those days with a large team, blacks and whites, with Bishop Joseph Garlington and his wife Barbara. Other cultures can bless you with their gifts.
This wasn’t the first time I stood out in a black crowd. Back in 1980, while planting a house-church in my neighborhood in southwest Dallas, I was invited to a gathering of Church of God in Christ leaders. That time, we were the only white faces among 1,500 people. I admit it that it felt a little bit intimidating back then.
Three years ago my wife and I visited a fine Missionary Baptist church here in east Meridian led by pastor Roderick Steele. He and I knew each other. We had a good time among them on our first visit there. They even invited me to come back and preach, which I did. But a funny thing happened (God has a great sense of humor).
We didn’t know it but on the Sunday we decided to visit (before I began to pastor at Trinity Assembly), they had designated a special “red and black” Sunday. Everyone, young and old, men and women, had dressed beautifully in something either a dramatic red or a dramatic black, or both. They all looked grand! But Lana I stuck out like a sore thumb since we both had elected to wear blue. So when the pastor called on me to introduce myself and to greet everyone, I stood up and said, “We’re glad to be here with you, but I’m so sorry that we’re the wrong color!”
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God in Meridian. 601-483-8189. trinitymeridian.com. Hear “The Father’s Power” radio show on 103.3 FM Sundays at 8 a.m. and 7 [//. This Sunday’s program discusses the kingdom of God.