Losing our Markers
Galatians 3: 26-29 “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, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Let’s think a little today about the implications of the radical boundary breaking Paul talked about in our passage for this week. There have always been “in” groups and “out” groups – a sort of divine order defined by the cultures we live in. And we tend, as people, to define ourselves and to create our identities around which of those “in” and “out” groups we belong to. We build lists of demographic markers (race, gender, orientation, religion, neighborhood, income, education, and the list goes on forever) and we use those markers to evaluate ourselves and those around us. We get stuck in these markers. They define everything about who we are and how we move through the world. But Paul is saying, “Look! These markers don’t exist anymore in God’s Kingdom! Stop using them!”
This strikes me as profoundly hard to do.
I don’t know about you, but I need my markers. They are the things that give me shape and identify and define how I move through the world. And, while the good news is that Paul is asking us to stop with the pecking order that comes with those markers, I find it difficult to let go of my place in that pecking order. The pecking order tells me who I am.
What does it take instead to let Jesus tell me who I am? That idea sounds so easy – almost like a Sunday school answer. But it’s actually really hard. Letting go of our markers can leave us feeling unmoored and vulnerable. And some days, that idea really freaks me out.
What about you? How do you feel at the idea of losing your place in the pecking order? What do you have to give up in order to embrace the thing Paul is calling us to?