26 You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.
What does it mean for followers of Christ to be “one” in Jesus?
In Paul’s mind, the answer lies in baptism. In baptism, Paul saw a putting away all the trappings of the old self and being clothed with a new identity in Jesus.
In everyday life, clothing is often a signifier of what “team” you belong to. It represents, at least for a time, a setting aside of one’s individual identity in order to embrace the team identity. The clothing is a reminder that, when you have the uniform on, your primary task is to work for the good of the team.
The difference between this everyday understanding of putting on a uniform and baptism is that our baptismal identity is permanent. We don’t put on the clothes to play in this particular game, while we’re working our shift, or while we’re out serving the community – and we most certainly don’t just put them on for heading out to worship on Sunday.
There is a distinct difference in my mindset when I am out and about wearing a clergy collar: I suddenly become MUCH more mindful of how my actions might be perceived by those who interact with me.
But the reality is, I SHOULDN’T feel any different. Because all of us who bear the name “Christian” wear our team identity in every moment of our everyday. In every interaction with our families, with our friends, with our co-workers – with everyone – we serve as Christ’s representatives in the world. When we put on the clothing of Christ in baptism, we proclaim this fact: our Creator ALWAYS sees us through the lens of Christ’s saving work. Our God always sees us as part of the team.
I guess the question is whether we always see ourselves in the same light?
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Are there times when you are more likely to try and hide your identity as a Christian in order to blend in or find acceptance?
Prayer: God of grace, help me to remember always how you see me. Remind me that I am one with Christ and one with your Church because of all you have done for me, and how you spoke that promise over me at my baptism. Today help me to live out of my identity as a valuable member of your team. Amen.