Colossians 3:11 NRSV
In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
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, “there is no Gentile and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and is in all” (v. 11 NRSV), 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.
Theology rules. That’s Domino #3/11.
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?
P.S. Summer Daily Text + New Course Offering on Holy Spirit
The FarmTeam is gearing up for a big celebration of the Holy Spirit this summer beginning on the Day of Pentecost. I will begin a Daily Text series focused on the Holy Spirit. Later in the summer Dan Wilt and I are working on our next course in the Awakening Essentials Series—a three week offering called How to Experience the Holy Spirit. I would love to know of your interest. Will help us pray and plan. Would you take one minute and answer these two questions? We will keep you updated as the time nears.
For the Awakening,