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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
January 5, 2013

[NOTE: This message was originally published October 19, 2000.]
The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.
Ephesians 3:6 (The Message*)

Before Christ, the assumption was that God was the God of Israel. God was viewed as something of an ethnic God, with a people chosen because of common ancestry.

With Jesus Christ, this is completely broken down. Jesus told his followers to take the message to all nations. His teachings and actions demonstrated that the important thing was a person's faith, not their ethnic heritage.

At Pentecost, God spoke to people of every nation - to each in their own language. The Good News - the Message as it is called in the translation I used above - was spoken to each person. No particular people or culture was favored or excluded.

Christ broke down the barriers of ethnicity and culture. Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers. Unfortunately, too many of us are all too inclined to build the barriers back up. We see this in racially identified churches. We see it even more dramatically in ethnic conflicts. Professed Christians have often been involved in these conflicts. In some cases, those on both sides are professed Christians.

We each need to examine ourselves closely in the light of Christ. Do we cling to ethnic or cultural stereotypes? Do we look to worship with those who are like us in the world's eyes rather than focusing on the unity in Christ that crosses the world's dividing lines? Do we see Christ in people regardless of their color, nationality, cultural background, wealth or education? What are we doing to break down barriers of race, nationality and class in the society in which we live?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version © by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2000, 2013 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 12-Jan-2013 16:39:23 EST