Saturday, July 23, 2016

Year C, Proper 13, Colossians 3:1-11, Christ is all, and in all

"Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.  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!"

In a world awash in political hyperbole it is probably timely that these are the words we will reflect on this next Sunday.  For all the political "fact checkers" out there, it never ceases to amaze me that we, and by that I mean all of us, continue to lap up these lies according to our own political leanings -- like a parched dog drinking from a water hose.  

One of the most dangerous political 'fantasies' that we entertain is the fabrication of an enemy in our own imagination, and then based on that fantasy engage in a crusade to conquer that imaginary enemy.  The problem is that the victims of this imaginary quest are not imaginary.  They are real.  And the damage done is irreversible.

The "Final Solution" of Hitler was no solution at all, though for many it was clearly final.

To say that for a Christian this ought naught be the case, is an understatement.  For any person of conscience, this ought naught be the case.  

The words of Paul once again focus our thoughts on the distinctions we make, distinctions that in the "renewal", the "new self", are no longer valid.  We have our own lists and categories of people that dominate our political discourse.  And human nature is such that we are too quick to credit the world's problems to a particular group of people, and then to take 'corrective action' against them.

And then these words:  Christ is all and in all!

But even in speaking those words, we are prone to make distinctions.  The most obvious distinction is that which we make regarding being "in Christ" or not, and the identification that to be "in Christ" is a particular reference to being Christian.  This of course allows us to continue making our distinctions with regard to the rest of the world.  May the Muslims of the world beware.  

But.  But.  Christ is all and in all.  What a gift it is when we can come to embrace the child of God, the image of God, in all.  Not in some.

The Jew becomes my sister.  The Muslim my brother.  The poor my friend.  The black, or Hispanic, a beloved neighbor.  It is a recognition that mommas  love their babies in Syria as well.  The world that God created had no borders, and certainly no walls.  That's our invention.  And it is not part of the kingdom of God.

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