November 6, 2017
Gentile lives matter. Barbarian lives matter. Slave lives matter.
Of course they do, but not why we think. What’s interesting is Paul doesn’t choose this approach in his correspondence. He begins where he always begins, with Jesus, the image of the invisible God.
He does not start with historical realities, sociological categories, economic disparities, political concerns or justice issues. He starts with theology. He begins with the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God there are many distinctions between people but there is no difference. Why? Because all are created in the image of God. In fact, it takes all of us to reflect the image of God. Only the image of God reflects such diverse distinctiveness while unifying it all in the same essence.
My growing conviction is if we do not start with Jesus in these matters of our distinctiveness we will never get to Jesus. Instead, we will allow our distinctiveness to devolve into differences that divide us. This is not naive idealism. “All men are created equal,” is idealism. When Paul says, “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” he is not espousing an ideal. He references the blood bought redemption of a diabolically broken race, which can only be found in one place—Jesus Christ.
Because of the political currents, the zeitgeist of our age will not enter the conversation on these terms, so we wind up submitting to all things historical, sociological, economic, political and justicial. We search for a creative ideal we will never find. All the while our Creator God offers the furthest thing from an ideal: the Cross.
And what irony—the only one who would be all-inclusive—”but Christ is all, and is in all,” is excluded on the grounds of his alleged exclusivity.
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is our only hope for unity in diversity and community in the midst of chaos. Forgive me for how I have sought to create difference from distinctiveness. Reorder my own thinking about who matters and why. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- So what if we began with Christ instead of all these other categories when it comes to all the ways we are divided in the present day?
- Why don’t the followers of Jesus want to begin with theological concerns rather than get drawn first into all of the other divisive and reactionary categories of our time?
- How does the Cross challenge and defeat your idealism?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.