“God’s vision for his people is not for the elimination of ethnicity to form a colorblind uniformity of sanctified blandness. Instead God sees the creation of a community of different cultures united by faith in his Son as a manifestation of the expansive nature of his grace. This expansiveness is unfulfilled unless the differences are seen and celebrated, not as ends unto themselves, but as particular manifestations of the power of the Spirit to bring forth the same holiness among different peoples and cultures for the glory of God.”
-Esau McCaulley, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope
We live in a world saturated by division. Liberal vs. conservative, white vs. black, rich vs. poor – human history is an endless list of splits, all of which are products of the sinful state of things. This divisiveness isn’t just individual, either: it causes us to separate and inflict harm on one another by creating structures that implement and amplify our inner brokenness. Yet we find that, in Paul’s description of a central tenet of the Gospel message in Ephesians 2:11-22, that the most prominent dividing wall of his day–Jews vs. Gentiles–has been destroyed by Christ; where these communities were divided in the world, they are now united in Christ around a common table of grace and love. This doesn’t mean, though, that we lose our distinctiveness in uniformity: instead, the biblical picture looks like comprehensive unity in the midst of diversity. We gather in the church as unique manifestations of God’s presence, and find that the shared Gospel message trumps all worldly divisions. -CL
Prayer: Father, I repent of the ways I have caused or added to divisions in the world. Forgive me by your endless grace and love, and make me an instrument of unity in my relationships, in my work, and in the world around me. Amen.