Today I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of biology laboratories at Baylor. Pat Danley, a professor who specializes in Lake Malawi cichlids (don’t worry, I didn’t know those were fish either), gave me the grand tour of his labs.
One of his labs contains dozens of tanks containing various species of Malawi cichlids. Though most of his work is way beyond what I learned in high school biology, he’s doing cool stuff with mating different cichlid species to make hybrid species. These sorts of experiments help him see what creates attraction between males and females. His other lab is geared to genetics. He takes tissue samples from the fish and runs them through a series of crazy machines to get a reading of their genes. Pretty cool stuff, huh?
The diversity of the St. Alban’s community never ceases to amaze me. As I look out at the congregation I see biologists, a recovering drunk, a widow, a widower, musicians, artists, teachers, a factory foreman, lawyers, doctors – the list doesn’t end. Only at God’s altar, in Christ’s Church, could all these different people ever dream of coming together.
We are that hapless band of disciples, composed of fishermen (Peter, James, and John), a tax collector (Matthew), and a political revolutionary (Simon the Zealot). In a life without Jesus, they would never have known each other, learned from one other, and most of all, loved one another.
Perhaps what I learned most from my visit to Baylor was that the Christian community is always grander that I could ever imagine.
Thanks be to God that the Church isn’t full of people like me. Thanks be to God for people like Pat.