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God Is God, And We Are All His Children
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
If we believe there is but one God, it necessarily follows that God created everything and everyone in the world. God is the God of the Jews, He is the God of the Christians, He is the God of the Muslims. He is even the God of the Atheists!
God is the God of the Israelis. He is the God of the Palestinian Arabs. He is the God of the Iranians, and the Syrians, and the Lebanese.
God is the God of the Russians and the Ukranians.
For all these people, for all the people of the Earth, God is God. As He created us, so did He create everyone. There is no person on Earth but for whom Psalm 100 does not contain this simple truth:
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
As God created all of mankind, it necessarily follows that there is a certain kinship among all of mankind. As we are all His people, then we are each of us brother to one another. It cannot be any other way, for as we are all His people, we are necessarily all one people.
Paul later reminds us, in Galatians 3:28, that we are all one people.
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.
As God created all of us, we cannot ever be anything but one people, one human race of people—all of the divisions that separate and segregate us are therefore by definition the product our own sinfulness and our own error.
We do well to recall what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out about segregation in his "Letter From A Birmingham Jail":
Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and awful. Paul Tillich said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression 'of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?
When we separate--when we segregate--we sin. It really is that simple.
Jesus also pointed this out at the end of Matthew 12, when He reminds the crowd who are truly His mother and His brothers.
While He was still speaking to the people, behold, His mother and His brothers stood outside, asking to speak to Him. But He replied to the man who told Him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We are meant to be one people. We are called to be one people. We are, in the end, one people.
As we are one people, when we see Hamas and Israel fighting each other in Gaza we are watching brother fight against brother. We are seeing kin killing kin.
As we are one people, when we see Russia fighting in Ukraine we are again watching brother fight against brother. We are again seeing kin killing kin.
As we are one people, whenever we see war taking place anywhere in the world we are watching brother fight against brother. We are seeing kin killing kin.
This is not how we are called to be. Nowhere is brother ever called to fight brother. Nowhere are we called to support and approve of brother fighting brother. Everywhere, we are called to seek peace with each other, and to find the peace that ends brother fighting against brother.
Where we are at odds with one another, we are called to seek reconciliation.
Where there is anger, we are called to find ways love each other even as we love ourselves.
It might seem naive or even foolhardy to speak of reconciliation, of loving our neighbor even as we love ourselves, yet we must remember that to love our neighbors even as we love ourselves is nothing less than God’s own Law. It is part of the Mosaic Law God gave the ancient Jewish people in the time of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). In Mark 12:31 Jesus taught that this principle was one of the two highest of God’s Commandments. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus taught His disciples to have an expansive vision of who is a “neighbor”, one that was not inextricably bound to notions of ethnicity or group identity.
We are called to reconciliation, we are called to love our neighbor even as we love ourselves, because this is and has always been part of God’s Law for mankind. This is how we are supposed to be to each other at all times. This is the essence of what is good and righteous conduct among people and among nations, to seek out peace rather than war, reconciliation rather than conflict, love rather than hatred.
If we are sincere in our faith, whatever our faith, and if we are true to our faith, whatever our faith, must we not conclude that this is Truth?
If we are sincere in our faith, whatever our faith, and if we are true to our faith, whatever our faith, are we not inevitably drawn to this conclusion? Are we not thus drawn by our faith to uphold this highest portion of God’s Law?
Are we not thus justified by our faith, as the quality of our faith becomes the quality of our fidelity to God’s Law?
I speak from the Bible because that is the sacred text I know. I do not speak from the Quran because I do not know the Quran. Yet I have heard those who claim knowledge of the Quran claim the Quran offers similar teachings, similar exhortations to live in peace among all men and among all nations. Such teaching in the Quran again brings us back to the universal aspect of God’s Law, that God’s Law is meant for all people and for all nations.
Thus I conclude as I began: stating what should be apparent to all: God is the God of all people, no matter how they style their faith or how they approach their faith. God is universal, and God’s Law is universal. And God’s Law is above all else a law of peace.
God is God, and we are all His children. I pray we can all find it within ourselves to live as God wants us to live—in peace.
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