Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
There has been a lot of controversial discussion about certain aspects of our common history in recent years. Sadly, it has created a great divide among us and caused both anxiety and hostility. One group fervently states that they have experienced centuries of injustice and inequality, so the other side should be made accept what they have done and repair any damage from the past, which may still unjustly affect the present generation. The other side does not accept these accusations, nor are they willing to apportion any blame to their ancestors and themselves, or even have the issue discussed in public forums or in school classrooms. Because there is no dialogue taking place, the wounds grow deeper and the division grows wider. Instead of being a compassionate community where freedom is known through liberty and justice for all, we have become fragmented and suspicious of one another, allowing fear to damage our freedom and ignorance to unsettle our society.
In times like these, the role of the Church is to be Christ’s peacemaker, creating a safe place where such dialogue can happen, where opposite views can be expressed and heard, as well as being a sanctuary where unity and diversity can flourish. This is not a new concept – it is basic to the teachings of Jesus, as well as to be found in Paul’s ministerial letters. Just as it boldly states in our beautiful Declaration of Independence – we are all created equal by God –it is also expressed, according to Christian doctrine, that we remain equal in the eyes of God through Jesus – as the Apostle Paul wrote, ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ This fundamentally means that more than any other group, we, as Christ’s followers, are meant to accept one another as equals and, therefore, to strive for that equality to be fulfilled in the Church, as well as to seek ways to accomplish that equality throughout our community, nation, and world.
This is not an easy task or a light burden, after all, Christ was crucified and Paul was martyred for daring to promote such a revolutionary peacemaking message in a time when power and oppression brutally suppressed any movement toward equality. But no matter how hard it is, to be faithful to Christ means applying His message, however controversial it may be, even in our present dilemma. As Christ’s followers, we follow His lead; as Christ’s disciples, we apply His truth. Like Jesus, we are peacemakers and pathfinders, seeking a solution to the sorrows among us, embracing dialogue and diversity, restoring justice and sharing compassion.
Q: How can I become a peacemaker in our divided community? How can the Church create a place and path that leads to unity and equality?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in our present difficulties, help us to turn to Your words and ways to find lasting solutions to peace, justice, and equality for everyone. Remind us that we are all equal in God’s eyes and will remain that way for the rest of our existence, both on Earth and in Eternity. In Your Holy Name, we ask for guidance, acceptance, and assurance. Amen.
Today’s image is John’s latest drawing called “Cross Purpose.” If you would like to view a larger version, click here.