Over the last month, I have come nose to pane with the issue of identity. Everywhere, people are fearlessly and proudly declaring who they are and what they stand for.
In Canada and the US, national pride was on display this past weekend as both countries celebrated their histories and identities. Canada Day was uncharacteristically elaborate as the sesquicentennial or 150th birthday was marked. Canadians are beginning to take pride in our flag (something our neighbours to the south have refined to a sharp edge). Egged on by Molsons and our "national" beer, we are prodded to declare
"I AM CANADIAN". Yes, I am. And Don is American. And while we use these terms to describe something about us, those labels and any others we might take or be handed, do not comprise our identities.
Mid June, Don and I stopped briefly to minister in Williamsport PA. I was taken with the tasteful and prominent bronze statues marking the city's main intersection. Baseball - the birthplace of little league. The atmosphere oozed passion and pride in this claim to fame. This identity.
Recently streets around the world were filled with those celebrating "Pride". Reflection on the use of that term and the symbol chosen to declare it must rest for now. Suffice it to say that many marched exuberantly to identify with the LGBTQ community. Unabashedly people paraded their identity as gay or lesbian or trans gendered or declared their solidarity.
Each of these identities and so many other things on which we tend to base our value and stake our territory here on earth are just that: earthly, temporal, superficial, evaporating, divisive.
Only Christ Jesus can give us an identity that is deep and eternal and unifying. Galatians 1:26 says:
"for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (ESV).
Race, gender, status, sexual orientation, political affiliation and the inevitable walls that arise from them, fade in the wonder of God's love - the outstretched inclusive arms of mercy to whomever will come to Him through Jesus Christ.
Some months ago, I came across a slip of paper in my father's script. It read "Always remember whose you are". A practical reminder from a taciturn man of his identity in Christ. Now THIS is an identity worth celebrating!
Have you identified as a follower of Jesus or is your identity found in something or someone else?
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