“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (See Galatians 3 and 4)
If you received Christian baptism, then you “have put on Christ” AND you have been united to everyone else who has “put on Christ.” And this unity granted to you and all who are baptized Christians transcends culture, gender, station in life, time, and space. This means all those things that can be sources of separation are meant to be aspects of strength and teaching. United in Christ, all these seeming “divisions” are meant to be united in Christ and brought together in Christ.
While this may seem a bit too high minded for a daily devotional, I want you to consider what our parishes would look like if we really took this gift of unity in Christ seriously and applied this wonderful truth to how we interact with one another. We would stop seeing our differences as barriers to communion and community, and we would begin seeing our differences as opportunities to learn from one another. We would be the new community meant to show the world what a gift life in Christ really is and what the whole of creation was meant to know.
But we can never see our brothers and sisters in this light until we really embrace our baptism “in Christ.”
You see, the key to becoming free to love one another is to really stay alert to the gift given to us all in our baptism. It is often all too simple to fall into the trap of reducing the gift of baptism to merely a photo opportunity and a family event. In fact, for most of the history of the Church, baptisms were done not as a private event for invited guests, but during the Divine Liturgy and while the whole community stood as witness. The purpose of our baptism is to unite us to all who are baptized as the foundational event in our journey as Christian persons in the Church.
So, today, take a moment to remember your baptismal promises, whether made on your behalf by your godparents, or made by you when you entered the Church, and understand that the gift of baptism was meant to unite and heal division in your heart, your family, and your community. Then ask God to grant you the grace to hold the unity of the Faith as one of Abraham’s offspring.
Today, embrace your Christian baptism. Today, enter into the amazing gift of seeing all your other brothers and sisters as the gifts to your own life they are “in Christ.”