One in Christ Jesus
September 29, 2015
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” –Galatians 3:28
Last weekend was our Annual Gathering of ABCRM churches and what an engaging time it was. For those who were not there, the theme was “Dangerous Dreams” and the conversations and seminars were based around hot topics such as, racial tensions, Islam, homosexuality, change in the church, prejudices, and more. I walked away from this event with lots to think about, wrestle with, but more importantly with a deeper love for and understanding of people from different walks of life.
I grew up in a small rural Pennsylvania town where it was a rarity to see someone have a different skin color or speak with an accent. Though my family does not admit to being racist, their comments and behaviors seem to prove otherwise. As a result, I was conditioned to fear others who were not Caucasian and to think with a prejudice view. My story thankfully changed and was redeemed when I moved to Littleton, Colorado for seminary.
During seminary I met numerous people from other countries and places in the United States who had different color of skin, came from different backgrounds and denominations, and experienced God in ways I never imagined before. It was through my classes and spiritual formation groups that I began to hear stories and experiences from others that changed my prejudice views. I learned that others experience God too and that His presence is not limited by the land boundaries of Pennsylvania and the United States. I knew God exists everywhere, but it really clicked that I have brothers and sisters in Christ all over. It was through our interactions together, listening to testimonies of God’s grace, and experiencing others love and compassion toward me that my fear, misconceptions of culture, and prejudices began to melt away and be removed.
Galatians 3:28 gives us a clear reminder of how we should act toward one another. Regardless of our upbringing, where we come from, what color of skin we have or our gender, our true identity is found in Christ alone. At The Gathering we were encouraged to engage each other first by putting away our swords and then listening. Our conversations need to be full of love, understanding, and compassion because we are one in Christ Jesus. My story was able to change as a result of listening and learning from others and also, by not continuing to live in ignorance with blinders over my eyes and giving into prejudices. I do not have life down perfect, but I am learning to love, live in grace, and engage others openly more each day.
May we continue to have difficult conversations and engage in uncomfortable situations so that our dangerous dreams of peace, love, and unity will come true. This was God’s original plan to begin with.
Prayer: Lord, remind us that You see us all equally and that you love us all the same. Give us the courage to engage one other so that we can learn from each other. Grant us great boldness to overcome our differences and unite together in You. Amen.
Amber J. Shearer
Camp Wyoba Administrator