A man went to get a new passport which required a new picture. His previous one was over ten years old. He said to the clerk, "I like the original one better." She replied, "Trust me. Ten years from now, you'll like this one." Ouch!
If you have gotten a passport within the last ten years, maybe you know what the man and the clerk are saying. For both, it was a matter of their perspective. For example, the man was seeing physical changes he didn't like. Maybe he wasn't smiling quite as nicely as he did in the last one. The clerk, however, saw things from another perspective — what seemed like a bad photo was only going to look better than he will in ten years.
Jennifer Copeland, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches and adjunct professor at Duke Divinity School, says that it matters about one's perspective — not just with photos but theology and living out that theology. She says the following:
"Binary thinking defines most of our cultural world: black and white, boys and girls, Democrats and Republicans. We fall into believing only two ways of thinking exist and that we must choose one or the other of them. Paul suggests only one way of thinking about the world, and that one way frees us from the limitation of choosing between two."
"The household of God does not erase our differences but enhances them and celebrates them."
"It's all a matter of perspective. If I always look at the world through my straight, white, female eyes, I will always see a certain kind of world."
The Apostle Paul, in our text for this Sunday's message, basically says the same thing about one's perspective matters. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us... 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God...
If our perspective is based only on what we perceive as important based on our own understanding of this thing we call "religion," then we need to take a step back, re-adjust our perspective, and understand that the "passport" we carry as part of the commonwealth of God causes us to see the world as Jesus saw the world.
I hope you join us this Sunday as we will look at Renewing Our Passport.