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PARADISE CORNER

“It’s about time!” That is what I said when a post came across my Facebook feed about Johnson & Johnson releasing a line of Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages in brown skin tones. I wondered what took Johnson & Johnson so long. For example, I remember when Crayola introduced multicultural crayons in 1992.

What I learned is that Johnson & Johnson actually released Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages in brown skin tones in 2005 but discontinued them because of “lack of interest.” Yet, by the end of 2020 consumers were clamoring for Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages in brown skin tones. And, here we are in mid-2022.

I am finding an important lesson about change in this little example. Not only does change take a long time; change also frequently involves starts, false starts, and restarts. Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages first hit the market in 1921. Eighty-four years later, brown skin tones were tried. Sixteen years after that, brown skin tones were tried again. There is always a gap between what is and what God desires. The good news is that, when we are responsive, the gap keeps getting smaller.

I always invite us to look into that gap between the world as it is and the world as God wants it to be—even to stand in that gap. The faith through which God claims us says that not only does God stand in that gap—God also fills that gap. The prophets of the Old Testament knew God’s action and entered the gap. That saving action continues in Christ with the flow of God’s love moving by the Holy Spirit. God reminds us that—no matter how good we are about change or how good we are at adapting to change—we still need help that looks different at different points along the way. Such help starts with God but also lives within and among us because—after all—God is within and among us! That’s yet another thing the Old Testament prophets remind us.

The prophets knew what God is still teaching us. Change indicates growth, which is helpful to remember because we are stepping into the time of the church’s year when seeing the color green in our worship space reminds us that we are growing. God’s creative hand in nature helps us to see that as green bursts forth in shade after shade. What God’s Holy Spirit helps us to do here and now is discover God’s invitation to lay aside “lack of interest” and embrace all that God is doing with our starts, our false starts, and our restarts. These include browns, greens, and all the colors in between, with the good news being that it is God who made all the wonderful colors and who still guides us through their changes to the place God intends everything to be. That promise is on full display for everyone to see and helps us to see God at work in the gap and beyond.
Live as children of light!
Pastor Scott Paradise