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  • Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman

Our task is to recognize and restore people to that sacred personhood that is their divine right.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28



What a radical thing for St. Paul to have penned two millennia ago!  We might respond, of course that there really are these differences.  But obviously he is looking at human beings and human society at a deeper level.  We have to absorb not only the specific content of this leveling of our differences from the perspective of Christ, but also learn to cultivate this deeper way of seeing.

 

It is very easy for us to get caught up in making distinctions.  This is skill we definitely need to do.  We need to be able to see the subtle differences between our tube of toothpaste and hair cream before we brush our teeth.  We need to see that our left and right shoes are slightly different and so on and so forth.  Seeing differences helps us navigate the world.

 

But human beings are not objects, to be used.  Human beings are subjects with infinite depth, as each one is created in the image of the Creator God, who was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.  Our task is to recognize and restore people to that sacred personhood that is their divine right.  It takes seeing beyond and beneath the categories we normally use to describe and contain the world.

 

How do we gain this deeper vision or consciousness?  I believe we look to those who came before us and are with us now, that have demonstrated this mystic vision and we immerse ourselves in their lives and teachings.  We study not specifically with an academic interest, but with the intention of mimesis, i.e. making their behavior and consciousness a model for our own lives. 

 

Paul invites people to follow his example as he follows the example of Christ.  All his other accomplishments and distinctions pale in comparison with the consciousness of experiencing the joy, connection and empathy found in this Christ consciousness, that is, seeing the image of God in each person, even when no one, even themselves, see it.  This is what he means when he calls us to have the same mind in us that Christ had.  When we see Christ in the poor and the hungry and the prisoner, we are beginning to get it!

 

God is not looking for blind obedience, but rather that we begin interacting with the world with this deeper consciousness that sees beyond common distinctions and helps each person claim and walk in their joyous divinity.  Imagine!

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