JESUS ONLY: Part 2 (Day 10)
We All Give God the Blues
It feels to me like our society is fracturing and dividing more than ever. The gaps are widening between a variety of our citizens. Every human sub-group seems to be staking out its own turf. The “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality is pervasive.
It must have been similar in ancient Colossae and it was impacting the young church. Apparently, the believers were taking sides, too. Paul pleads with them....
“Since you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek or Jew (race); circumcised and uncircumcised (religion), barbarian, Scythian (culture) slave and free (caste); but Christ is all and in all.” - Colossians 3:10( NRSV) (Words in parentheses added by Randy.)
Paul is describing what happens when we take on new life in Christ. Those human distinctions of race, ideology, wealth, gender, and more are no longer causes for separation. He reminds us that we now share a deeper bond with each other because of our relationship with Christ, who is for each of us and in each of us.
How do I begin to relate and interact with those who are different from me and/or those with whom I disagree?
It seems to me I could begin by recapturing what we have in common: We are all created in God’s image. We all have a spiritual self. We are all sinners. We all have brokenness. And we all need God’s tender mercy. That can only begin to occur as I allow the Holy Spirit to renew and transform my old self (focused on difference and division) with the new self (unity and humility).
I contemplated how I might re-write Paul’s admonition to capture current divisions that fester in my heart. Perhaps it might look something like this: “Randy, in your renewed self, there is no longer black or white, Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, straight or gay, liberal or conservative Christians, America or the world, but Christ is all and in all.”
In closing, I leave you with lyrics from Shawn Mullin’s song, “We All Give God the Blues”
God don’t hate the Muslims
God don’t hate the Jew
God don’t hate the Christians
But we all give God the blues.
God don’t hate the atheists
The Buddhists or Hindus
God loves everybody
But we all give God the blues
God ain’t no Republican
He ain’t no Democrat
He ain’t even Independent
God’s above all that
Bigger than religion
He’s got a better plan
The sign says God’s “gone fishin”
For the soul of every man.
God loves old bartenders
The preachers the whores and fools
And that karaoke singer
Just a-ruinin’ “don’t be cruel”
The winners and the losers
The prisoners and the free
All the saints and sinners
Even you an’ even me
God lovers everybody
Yeah we all give God the blues.
(From the album Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us)
What persons or people groups do you find most annoying or irritating? Invite God to show you why.
How might my interaction with and humbly listening to someone who is different from me enrich and strengthen me?
Is there someone God might be inviting me to take initiative to connect with?
Abba/Father, You are the magnificent Creator of everything and everyone. And You said your creation is good. Help me to root out the pride, fear, and/or anger that cause me to distance myself from others who are different from me. Give me a humble heart. Although You love everyone perfectly, I am imperfect in loving others. Please continue to renew my old self into a new self that can begin to allow your love to flow through me to others. Help me to not categorize and label others but to meet each person as an individual who has Your holy and sacred imprint. Amen.