No Distinctions There

No Distinctions There

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. Rom. 10:12

Years ago on Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor told a story about meeting Donnie Hart at a bus stop in downtown St. Paul. Donnie was a childhood friend from Lake Wobegon. He described Donnie as a child taller and stronger than the other children his age. Yet, he was a gentle giant, patient, tender and simple. Donnie was slow and would believe anything you told him. So he was an easy target for practical jokes. The other boys picked on him when they discovered he would not hit back.

Keillor’s parent made him play with Donnie to be nice to the slower boy. But, then he grew to enjoy his company. They were two awkward children who found comfort with each other. Then one day Donnie’s family moved away and he fell out of Garrison’s mind.

Years later, at a bus stop in downtown St. Paul, Garrison noticed a group of adults approaching him. He could tell they were adults with intellectual disabilities. So, he moved away from the group because he felt uncomfortable being around those type of people. Then to his surprise, he saw Donnie Hart was one of them. He greeted his old friend, but Donnie had no idea who he was.

When they all got on the bus, Keillor discovered a remarkable thing. The expectations of how adults should act were not present in these different souls. They were children and it felt like a school bus. All distinctions between them and Keillor faded away. They weren’t two different people, but one. They were all children and they were all laughing.

The experience reminded him of a hymn he used to sing as a child about heaven. It was called, “There’ll Be No Distinctions There.” A hymn grounded in this text from Romans.

I have found myself in similar places. Places without distinctions feel as though you are walking through the peaceful kingdom described in Isaiah 11. It’s an experience you never want to leave. To me, these moments reveal heavenly experiences do not have to wait until we die. We can create them by living with peacefully with each other. I invite you today to consider how you are living peacefully with those who are different than you.

NOTE: Living peacefully with each other is not to suggest being silent to injustice. The most effective cultural changes have come from organized, peaceful, and non-violent actions.

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Click to read: Romans 10: 11-13

Reflection Questions: Have you ever experienced something like Garrison Keillor’s story of the bus ride? If yes, what made it possible? If no, how can you make it happen? How do you talk to people who disagree with you? How does living peacefully prepare your heart to receive Christ?


Photo Courtesy of and Matthew Henry

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