For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. —Galatians 3:27-29
It seems that in this increasingly divided time we are defined by our opposition. Democrat or Republican, man or woman, black or white. Everywhere we go, our only tools for identifying what we believe in are by describing what we are not.
This thinking even eclipses the way we see Scripture. So often we as Christians are forced to confront the sad reality that many use the Bible, a book of peace, to wage war on those seen as deviant or scary. We are taught to fear the other and eliminate them so that our way of life can be preserved. This divide between the self and the other permeates our culture, and it often seems inescapable. But just when it seems that we are trapped, when it seems we are beings born into binaries, God offers us another perspective.
Within God we are freed from the chains of identification and offered the ability to be one with something greater. The concept of “freedom” can only be articulated because of slavery, as we can only know that we are free if we are not in bondage. Within God we are something more than free, as God is beyond both slavery and freedom. God is beyond nation, beyond status, beyond gender, beyond race, beyond all material things. If we move beyond these things that separate us, we see that we are all connected by the cloth of Christ, akin to a thread that weaves its way through all things and unites us in a common promise.
Dear God, help us move beyond opposition and instead learn to see how we are all connected in you and your love. Amen.
Harrison Picallo is the Youth Elder at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.