There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3 v 28
I write this as Liverpool won the 2019-20 Premier League. I shouted out, hands in the air, and even danced a bit. I hope you can be happy for me – it’s been a long time coming. 30 years. I was young man in 1990!
Sometimes there is a joy in identifying with a group and being partisan – our cricket team, our rugby team, our school team, our national team. But this is sport; this is just for fun, for entertainment, keeping fit.
What is our guide for everyday real life? Our verse today shows we should have a different frame of mind. We should not be partisan or discriminate against anybody, never mind be violent or abuse anyone. All are made in God’s image. All are precious in the sight of God.
Yet there is no lasting pride in whom we were, or are, apart from Christ. All are equally in need of forgiveness and change to become like Jesus.
Wonderfully, this forgiveness is freely given and all are welcomed to come to the table and eat with Jesus and with us, in Holy Communion or indeed at home. Hopefully soon once the lockdown eases of course.
We are all on the same side in Christ, whoever we are, wherever we are from, whatever our gender, whatever our skin colour, whatever our tongue. It is one of the wonders of Christianity that all are equally welcomed, across the whole world. We are part of a great movement of love to all mankind.
And at the last, we are all going to that great celebration in heaven – countless voices shouting in unison “Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever”.
It may be a long, long, wait until then. But it will be worth it!
We pray for our nation at this time, that we may all seek the common good and not our selfish desires. We pray for wisdom for our citizens, our scientists, the civil service, local government, and politicians, that together we may be united in doing what is needful to defeat this COVID 19 pandemic.
We pray also for unity in the worldwide Church that we may live together as free people and seek to free those enslaved, by sin or by others, and, whoever they are, welcome all.
Stuart Townend’s song about welcome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s27D7M8biuI