Concrete. Five broken slabs of ordinary-looking concrete carried around in their suitcases. My parents normally travel light (very light by American standards). But on one particular trip, they hauled home several pounds of stone-like material in their suitcases. Why? Inspired by their historical significance, my parents brought home one slab to keep for themselves and four others that they offered as gifts to each of their children. These gifts were given to memorialize the reunification of East and West Berlin. These chunks of concrete were once a part of the Berlin Wall. A city, once divided, had been reunited. The walls had come down.
An intangible barrier is dividing and separating the Christian community, the body of Christ. This “wall” subdivides men from women and is being maintained for defensive purposes to allegedly protect “manhood” from “womanhood” (and vice versa). This partition is keeping the sexes apart, split into factions. A rift runs through the community of believers obstructing our unity. This should not be so.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23 TNIV)
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, 28 TNIV)
Unity. Oneness. Harmony. Allying together to work with solidarity in purpose. Our quest no longer distracted by trying to obtain or conform to someone’s personal definition of manhood or womanhood, but a quest to make Christ known among all the nations. With the empowering gifts of the Spirit, believers from all races, classes, and genders joining their voices together in a beautiful symphony to declare God’s love for humanity. Sharing with others what we have so freely received through faith from our Savior. The focusing of attention on gender roles and boundaries, with an assortment of differing materials for him and for her, sidetracks our mission. The Christian community needs to redirect its focus to discovering how we are all one in Christ and to proclaiming the good news of salvation. Each one of us has been clothed with Christ so that we can be a witness to the nations. The Bible does not list any distinctions between male ambassadors and female ambassadors in the Kingdom of God. We need to consolidate our giftings and resources together by cooperating with one another, loving one another, and honoring one another to help God’s kingdom advance.
The Berlin Wall once kept a city divided and separated. Let us endeavor to tear down any divisions that separate the community of believers and strive for unity. One active force spreading the hope of reconciliation with God to the world.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 TNIV)
What do you think “we regard no one from a worldly point of view” means for believers?