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We Are All One In Christ

We Are All One In Christ

by The Reverend Beth Anne Nelson on June 22, 2022

TLDR: We are called by God to love each other regardless of race. Knowing who we are helps us to understand others views better.

When I was in seminary the first time, we were asked to list who we are in order of importance and my list went something like this (keep in mind that I was twenty-three and had not met David yet):

1. Christian
2. Daughter
3. Granddaughter
4. Sister
5. Niece
6. Aunt

As I matured and changed throughout my life, that list changed. I recognized that I was first a Christian (within this is the identifier of child of God), now I am a wife and mother. All of these are important parts of who I am as a person and how I see the world. As does my families background, my father’s family immigrated in the early twentieth century while my mother’s family lived in (very, very) rural midwest until the mid twentieth century. All of this comes with me when I read a text. Much of my family has served in the armed forces either voluntarily or because of the draft. This all goes into my caucasian viewpoint of the scripture, it is called social location. That is where we stand in a moment as a person; I learned the term last year from my husband. In fact, at seminary, I took a whole class on defining my culture and recognizing how that influences my view.

The Epistle and Old Testament lessons for last Sunday have interesting interpretations based on my social location. On Sunday, it was Juneteenth, a day when we remember the last slaves who found out they were emancipated in Galveston, Texas. Many of the commentators that I read for Sunday's epistles and Old Testament exegesis were preaching on this day, because it is a new national holiday. Many of them are Black and as such the day holds a particular meaning that I cannot understand from my social location.

Since I am a Christian first, I turn to scripture and try to find an answer. When I read the epistle reading, I thought back to that seminary class that I referenced at the beginning of the blog post. The professor asked that we write more into the text so that we could understand how jarring it felt. Before I go on, look at the text in Galatians:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.”1

Think of that for a moment.

Here, on earth, in this place we are given by God, we have identities. I think it is our call to honor, respect, and lift up people who are different from us. It is our job to look at all of God’s creation. This does not mean that we always agree with someone. In fact, those of you who know me well know that I am a rather fierce defender of what I think is right, however, it means we are always kind. It means that even though my social location is wildly different, if I know who I am and why I believe what I believe, I will be able to better understand other’s viewpoints. In God, there is no race, however, here in Texas 157 years ago, not all races were beloved  by all of God’s people. That is still true in many ways today. As someone who looks a lot like those slaveholders, it is my call and responsibility as a Christian to ensure that all people are beloved by God.2

1 Galatians 3:26-29

2 For a commentary on these topics using Isaiah go to
https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-12-3/commentary-on-isaiah-651-9-5. For a commentary using Galatians go to https://youtu.be/Q1H_4hEpS6Q

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