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We Are Now One People

Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (NRSV)

We live in a world that’s more and more partisan, more and more divided. And frankly, it’s difficult for many to see how that trend can ever be reversed. That’s why sometimes lessons of history can be so helpful.

To some it seems odd that every year on this day, I remember my friends in New Zealand as they celebrate their Waitangi Day. If you’re a Kiwi, that makes sense. If not, it may seem kind of weird. But stick with me.

On this day in 1840 began the process of some 500 Maori chiefs signing the Treaty of Waitangi. As each one signed, Lieutenant Governor Hobson representing the British Crown, spoke these words in the Maori tongue: “We are now one people”.

Over the last 181 years, the New Zealanders have brought their people together better than most – not perfectly, not without bumps and wrinkles, but pretty darned well.

I wonder whether it didn’t begin with that intent: We are now one people.

There’s so much division in the world today: Between left and right, between black and white, identity politics, climate change – you name it, and we’ll fight over it. This is what the Apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Look, we’re never going to agree on everything and, quite frankly, there’ll be things that I’ll speak out against, because they’re just plain wrong. I’ll continue boldly proclaiming Christ, even though some hate me for it.

But how we as Christians treat those with whom we disagree is, as one scholar pointed out, a scorecard on how well we’ve learnt Christ’s lesson of love. For in Christ, we are now one people.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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