“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Today’s photo takes us to Rome and the famous Pantheon. As its name suggests, it was most likely a temple that celebrated all the gods. Visitors from all over the empire would find in this great edifice reason to celebrate their religious diversity.
Our culture calls upon us to celebrate diversity and has embraced this idea to the point of making it a virtual absolute. No culture, idea, tradition, aesthetic, etc, is of more value than any other…except the idea of diversity, of course. One definition of celebrate is ‘to praise widely’. If that’s what the culture wants me to do on behalf of diversity, I’m not so sure.
The trumpeting of the glories of diversity by the culture is not surprising. The culture is really at a stand off here. They really have nowhere else to go. Is cultural window shopping the best we can do? What, if anything, is capable of actually moving beyond the stalemate of diversity into unity? For that is something I would want to praise widely.
St. Paul points us beyond a world defined by relative distinctions to a world defined by its relationship to God in Christ. Jew, Greek, slave, free, male and female are not ultimate categories. What is of ultimate importance is that they have all been caught up in the great, unifying power of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ.
For the Christian, the great unifying reality in life is not the principle of diversity. We celebrate, in the truest sense of the word, the unity we know in Christ. I will tolerate diversity but it is not something I will celebrate. I’ll save that for Jesus, in whose glorious name people among every race and nation are reconciled in the authentic unity of God’s gracious love.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”