The multi-ethnic church race is not a sprint, but a marathon race for life. What will energize us in the midst of the challenges and obstacles that would drain us, exhaust us and lead us to call it quits rather than overcome? Solidarity in community is key. But what kind of community? A community sustained by the reality that the God revealed in Christ by the power of the Spirit has already run and won the race to make one people out of many nations, tribes, peoples, and languages.
Ephesians 2 speaks to the reality of what Christ has already accomplished. He has already broken down the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles and has made them one (Ephesians 2:11-22). By extension, Jesus has broken down the dividing walls that exist between various people groups and sub-cultures in our day. We live now in light of what our Lord Jesus has done, is doing and will do in making his people one. Not only do we look back, but also we look forward to that future reality disclosed in Revelation 7:9-17. Here we find that God’s community of people from a plethora of diverse backgrounds is one, centered round the throne in worship.
This is no pie in the sky wishful thinking that leads us toward escapism, but an eschatological vision firmly rooted in the history of God’s reconciling act of just love in Christ. With this constructive vision, we can overcome the negative forces that would cause us to abandon justice for hate, justice for status quo peace, and love for revenge-based justice.
We need to realize that the God revealed in Christ has big shoulders, big lungs and strong legs to help us win each leg of the journey. Our firm hope in the revelation of God in Christ should energize us to run well the multi-ethnic church marathon race. This all-consuming vision of what God has done, is doing, and will do will keep us centered, secure and sustained in the face of the consumer-driven culture that would divide us over petty preferences. We shall overcome, for Jesus has already won the race.
I will be addressing these themes as I speak at Mosaix 2013 Multi-Ethnic Church Conference, November 5 – 6 in Long Beach, CA.
This piece is cross-posted at The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and at The Christian Post.