Galatians 3:23-29 (NRSV)
Verse 23Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Verse 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. Verse 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, Verse 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Verse 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Verse 28There 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. Verse 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
God assures us we’re God’s chosen children through faith! Therefore, the issue isn’t whether God chooses us, but sometimes it’s whether we choose each other. This situation can occur in faith communities if stereotypes about who should serve and/or how people should participate cause divisions.
Unjustly, I harbor stereotypes about the sorts of people I expect in particular roles, groups, or activities. If I ask a person who differs from my expectations, “Tell me, how did you become involved in …?,” intentionally or not, I’m questioning the person’s competence or rights to belong and participate. When stereotypes shape my expectations, I’m not living in the new creation where Christ eliminated all divisions of nationality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age, ability, or other differences. Consequently, I’m not choosing all people to be my siblings in the same way our loving God chooses all of us to belong as God’s heirs.
God, our loving parent, forgive us when our narrow expectations exclude people. Help us choose to unite as one family and fully recognize each other as your children and heirs. Amen.