A while back, stuck in rush hour traffic, my teenage daughter, Anna, decided to play me a video from the internet.

“Tell me what you hear, Mom. It will either be ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel.’”

Anna was so excited- “You hear ‘Laurel,’ right Mom? Right??”

I glanced over. She had to be pulling my leg. Was this one of those teenage pranks that they are secretly recording and posting to Instagram? Despite Anna’s assurances, I did NOT hear “Laurel.” A weird digital voice was saying “Yanny.”

Anna promised me, swore to me that she heard the totally different word, “Laurel.” (If you’re interested in seeing what you hear, you can try it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X_WvGAhMlQ

As it turns out, it’s all a matter of what tones your ear is most naturally tuned to listen for. About 47% of us hear one, 53% the other. Here is an explanation, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDiXQl7grPQ

But as Anna explained how this little video and debate were setting the internet on fire and sorting folks into camps, I thought of church. Of how often something small can divide us.

How beautiful then, that we get to offer an alternative. Greater than all that would divide you from those who sit next to you on Sunday is this: Jesus is your Savior. He loves you, died for you, invites you to follow. Invites the greatness of his name to bridge over all the Yanny/Laurel disputes of the world.

As Paul put it: In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[a] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[b] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Colossians 3:11

Most churches aren’t filled with people who are all the same. They never have been- that’s why Paul writes the words above. In communities of faith, we can glimpse the beautiful tapestry God has created us to be. Though we may disagree in sports, voting, raising our kids or what that crazy digital voice is saying, when it comes to the heart of who we are, we are not divided.

We love each other. We love Jesus. And we are changing the world together. A gift, a calling, an identity so much greater than anything that threatens to divide us.

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