In the news, we are hearing about the messy situation in the Middle East – an area that has had tensions between people of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith for centuries. A place that has erupted in violence again this week.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the divisions between people. How do we heal this human divide? Tensions between people, putting people into categories, looking at some people as ‘in’ and some people as ‘out,’ is not a new occurrence. This is precisely what Paul is addressing in his letter to the Galatians. Paul had started the church in Galatia and then heard about how things had fallen into disarray. The people were broken into two factions. They had lost sight of what Christ had done for all of us in dying on the cross. Human constructs were dividing people. What do we have to do to be in the ‘in’ crowd? Paul writes to clear up this awful mess:
“By faith in Christ, you’re in direct relationship with God. Your baptism was not just washing you up for a fresh start…In Christ’s family, there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us, you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.” Gal. 3:25-28 (Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, numbered edition. 2005)
We so easily lose sight of the fact that God has erased all these divisions. Yes they still exist and God needs men and women and people of all different talents, but really, that is not our primary identity! Our identity is as beloved children of God.
Let us pray…
Loving God, you hold together all things in heaven and on earth. In your great mercy receive the prayers of all your children, and give to all the world the Spirit of your truth and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.