From Pastor Cheryl Hoffman's sermon for Sunday, June 19, 2022 Readings: Galatians 3:23-29, Psalm 22:19-28, Luke 8:26-39.
I don’t believe in coincidences, so I listened a little more carefully on Tuesday when our Matins reading was based on 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.”
Then, an hour and a half later, it showed up in our pericope study as one of the Sunday readings.
In Paul’s day there was a lot of emphasis on the division between the Christian Jews and the Christian Greeks. There was a group of Christian Jews who expected the Greeks to become not only believers in Christ, but also to become Jews in the flesh. And Paul is saying, “Look you guys, you’ve got this all backwards. It’s not about what you were, Jew or Greek, but what you are, a Christian. Christ is what matters.”
Today, especially today, there is a lot of emphasis on the division between slave and free. Or more broadly, black and white, or more broadly still, persons of color and white. Today is Juneteenth, the day set aside to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. We might not enslave people the way we did in the 1800s, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still treat people (usually people of color) as less than, other than, undeserving, unfairly, or unjustly.
All last week, there were stories about people who have torn down walls, expanded boundaries, surpassed expectations, and succeeded where others failed: Jackie Robinson, Amanda Gorman, Opal Lee, Katherine Johnson, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Louis Armstrong, Maya Angelou. All are people of color. All of the stories saying the same thing, “Some of you got it all wrong.”
It’s not about the color of your skin, but that all of us have skin, and are human beings created by God, all of us, children of God.