Sons and Heirs
Open Your Bible
Galatians 3:27-29, Galatians 4:1-7, John 14:1-11, John 14:18-21, Romans 8:1-17
One of my closest friends, Rory, has a fierce loyalty to both Jesus and quality coffee beans. Lately, while coffeeshop crawling around town, we seem to keep coming back to the same topics: G. K. Chesterton, the Enneagram, men, and what she likes to call “ecumenical dialogue.”
Although we don’t share a love for coffee, we do share a passion for the Church in all its broken, messy complexity. Having had exposure to a wide range of church traditions, these conversations always remind us that we long for deeper unity—remembering that God doesn’t align more with one end of the faith spectrum than the other: He is the spectrum.
When Paul calls for unity in his Galatians epistle, he declares, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female since you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gl 4:28). Human nature just wants to divide. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s denominational or sociopolitical or any other categorization: it wants to raise and lower inherent value to seek and further its own good. But the gospel is a hospitable, open table where everyone is honored.
During Paul’s missionary journeys, he needed to clarify the heartbeat of the gospel to an ancient world that devalued Jews, slaves, and females. Religion was just one more system that marginalized them. The temptation to reserve the gospel for those who didn’t seem to need it as much began to quelch what should have been “good news.” Good news for all—not just those who already had all the freedom they needed.
Paul urges us to remember that the kingdom of God isn’t discriminatory. It’s heaven extending its hand and inviting us to a feast as brothers and sisters. We are, communally, made in the complex image of God. No individual, no matter how impoverished in mind, body, or resources is exempt from His lavish hospitality. Although we’re born into this world enslaved, He adopts us and makes us not “a slave, but a son” and an “heir” (Gl 4:7). We are now all heirs to this grace.
No community is perfect, but my home church back in California does a beautiful job at pursuing unity. It’s quirky and hard to pin down theologically. The air circulation isn’t great, and the worship flows in and out of syncopation. But, boy, does that church know how to love. On any given Sunday, on your way to the Eucharist table, you may meet those who are wealthy or who ride a bicycle to work. Who have a PhD in early church history or who have never taken a college class. This church doesn’t quite fit or belong to any one denominational stream. And maybe the reason why I gravitate to churches like this is because I, too, never quite feel like I fit or belong. It’s churches like these that remind me why the gospel is good news.
May we always have a spirit of hospitality toward our brothers and sisters. After all, we’re all just looking for a family in which to belong, and Jesus has made us this hopeful promise: “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you” (Jn 14:18).