Hi everyone. Rob here.
There’s a beautiful image that’s portrayed in Revelation 7:9-10 that I carry within me as a source of hope:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’
This is a picture of God’s heart for his Creation. Everyone finds their place in his love and in Jesus, the Lamb, who gave his life for us all. It is a picture of joy, of homecoming, of love and of peace. What’s always struck me about this picture is it’s complete lack of uniformity and homogeneity. We don’t all blend into one colour, one language or one tribe, and yet, there is unity as we come before God’s throne.
In God’s kingdom unity is not uniformity, diversity is celebrated and love is the glue that holds it all together. One thing that’s really helping me to grasp the beauty of our diverse humanity is knowing Jesus as the true human being. He is the most human person that has ever lived. He is our representative, our hero, our redeemer and our rescue because he restores the glory of our humanity to us. He is the Son of Man who invites us to share in the love and oneness he shares within the Godhead. He is God’s invitation into our true selves.
If unity in diversity is God’s heart for humanity’s future it’s also his heart for us right now. Tribalism is having a revival. Fear of the other is leading to a fear of loss and that’s leading to defensive postures, hostile gestures and inhumane actions. As soon as we start seeing each other as less-than-human then we have acted against the whole purpose of Jesus, the Son of Man, coming in the flesh to live among us. Jesus came to remind us that we are made in the image of God, and through him we can live up to that divine calling once again. It starts with recognizing that the image of God lies in the humanity of the other and any act of de-humanizing is an affront to God.
When Jesus was put on trial and hung on a cross the whole effort was designed to de-humanize him. His face was scarred, his body beaten within an inch of his life, his identity mocked. Jesus, though, did not give into the temptation to return the favour. Instead, as he was dying, he said this:
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34)
Even in death Jesus honoured the humanity of his accusers and his oppressors. In life he honoured the humanity of the outcasts and the lepers. Whether they were friend or foe, powerful or powerless, for him or against him, Jesus honoured their humanity. My prayer is simply this: “Christ in us, help us to do the same.”
The only way to truly honour people’s humanity is to love them with the love of God. May you overflow with divine love this week as you invite God’s love into your heart. May you see the other with the same love with which Jesus sees you. May you honour your own humanity by giving yourself over to Jesus, the Son of Man, and asking for his humanity to fill you. May you die to fear and come alive to God’s love for every tribe, language and person in the name of Jesus Christ, the True Human.
Grace and peace.