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In Christ there is no few or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 (INT)
The term "global village" is used a lot these days to describe how closely interconnected and interdependent the world has become. The Internet is one example of a modern-day tool that millions of people use to access information and communicate with individuals and groups across national boundaries and continents. Chat rooms bring people together in cyberspace to discuss a wide variety of topics. Even surgery and medical procedures that were once thought impossible are using this technology to save lives. In a very real sense, we can say that the world is becoming a smaller place as the human family gets to know one another better through the information highway.
Yet, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul tells us of a bond we share in Christ that is deeper than ever could be ours on the Internet. Each of us is part of a spiritual community so intimate that it transcends our individual differences of race, national origin and gender. Our communion is closer and more profound than anything we can imagine. In other words, all of us are sisters and brothers who belong to God's great family. We have gifts and limitations, similarities and differences, smiles and tears, fears and hopes to share. We have much to give and receive from one another. We are like a beautiful tapestry interwoven with many colorful threads that create a stunning work of art. The oneness we share in Christ is a mystery of grace so awesome that words barely evoke a glimpse into the reality.
Make this your prayer today:
God of Nations and Generations, help me to accept people who are different from me-those from different nations, races, cultures and religions. All belong to your family- everyone, everywhere. May your love live in us and give birth to a spirit of understanding in our hearts that will bring us together to serve one another more generously each day. Break the bonds of frustration, fear, hate and prejudice that separate us. Reveal your kindness as we strive to heal one another's hurts and, in the process, experience our own brokenness and the path to true freedom and universal peace. May we love you face to face in our sisters and brothers everywhere and be like a rainbow of bright, bold, brilliant colors splashed across the sky, reflecting your glorious presence everywhere.
Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. In the circle write the name of a place, city, town, nation, race or gender that you want to celebrate communion with. Pray for a deeper appreciation of the giftedness and the needs of others. Consider doing this each day for a week, adding different names to your circle each day.
As your prayer today, reflect on how you can grow more open and receptive in your relationships with others. Think about how your beliefs are often the result of past conditioning and your own thought system. Accept this reality and ask God to help you learn from the differences of others.
Let an act of loving kindness be your prayer today. By your practice of loving kindness, you are capable of bringing about a more just and compassionate world. It can be as simple as smiling at your neighbor, opening a door for someone, speaking respectfully to a stranger, or making a telephone call to a friend who is lonely.
Reflect on the meaning of Paul's words that in Christ, all people are one. Who are the people you find hard to accept as God's family? As your prayer today, ask God to give you a new heart.
Pray for people who are outcasts, rejected by today's churches and societies. As each name or group comes to mind, hold them in your heart and ask God to make up for the love they needed but did not receive. Ask God to help you love them with the love God is pouring into your heart for them.
Use the following prayer to profess your loving communion with
God's family, or make up one of your own:
Nurturing God, you have birthed me into a wonderful family. I bring before you this day all that I am, all that I have, all that I hope to become. Let me hold hands with my sisters and brothers around the globe, so that together we might laugh like children sharing popsicles together on a summer's eve. In drying each others tears and sharing each others fears, may we celebrate your vision for us in the love that we share. BMM