There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)

I RECOGNIZED THE VOICE of the African-American man on the other end of the telephone. He had been attending our church for a few weeks and he was the only African-American in the congregation. It was the mid-1970s and our church had not bridged the gap between our races and cultures. In fact, we really hadn’t tried very hard.

So I was surprised when he said he wanted to join our church. Sad to say, instead of being immediately elated, I thought of those in the church who I knew held attitudes of hostility toward other races.

But to him I said, “That’s great! Tell me, I’m curious to know why you have made this decision.”

He said, “Well, the first time I came, your people told me they were glad to see me. When I left, they said they hoped I would come back. When I returned, they said they were glad to see me again. I appreciate the genuine love and warmth shown to me in this church.”

I silently thanked God for our ushers, greeters, and others who had communicated this warmth.

He did become a member and became instrumental in helping us reach others of his race. In spite of our differences, we developed a bond of love and acceptance of one another in the body of Christ.

On this Martin Luther King Day, build a bridge to someone different from you.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have been married for fifty-one years and have two sons and nine grandchildren.