As you all know, I’m a genealogy fanatic. Recently I sent off an Ancestry DNA test to find my genetic “roots.” I’m a healthy mix of Irish, Scots, English, French, German and Welsh (they don’t check for my Cherokee blood).
While it is great to know all of this and to celebrate ancestral heritage, sometimes we use cultural distinctions for division. Paul fought against those who sought to divide the church like this. While, yes it is fine to know that I’m a Heinz-57 mix of nationalities, and I am okay to embrace my cultural roots (I love a good Shepherd’s Pie), it is NOT acceptable to distance myself from others by clumping up with those who are just like me. In the Church, in the Body of Christ – there are no nationalities, only Christ. There are no names that we claim except Jesus.
Paul wrote about this several times – Galatians 3:28 (interestingly, the Galatians or “Gauls” would include those we call Celts today – the Irish & Scots of my family tree) and Colossians 3:11. And if you look closely at Colossians 3:11, he mentions one group that we often pass by in the reading of the verse. The Scythians. Do a little digging and you realize this was a group of savage, barbaric warring peoples who interestingly during the time of Paul lived in places known today as Siberia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, having chased out the Greeks.
So history lesson aside, today we see churches divided over race. While we feel sorry for people in other parts of the world (or even in our community), we keep their problems at a safe distance. That’s not what we have been called to do. We are called to be THE CHURCH. A church that transcends nationalities and lines drawn on maps. We are called to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of skin tone or country of origin. Pray for our Christian family who live in places where they don’t have the freedoms we have. And look for ways to cross cultural and racial boundaries right here in Cordele, so that the Gospel will come to everyone, regardless of who they are.