And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

Zechariah 2: 11

 

There are many things that divide and that separate people in our world. Some of these differences are superficial and others come from deep within. Sometimes it is rather easy to get beyond the separation makers and to let go of the things that tend to hold us apart, but at other times, this takes real and sincere effort to accomplish. We all can identify some of the differences that exist between ourselves and other people that we have encountered, and most of us can tell stories of greater or lesser success in bridging these gaps. One of the most commonly used means of defining people and of grouping us into collections of seemingly similarly oriented individuals is nationality. The nation of our origin tends to give each of us cultural identity, language, appearance, and even in many cases religion. Nationality is one of the most commonly used means that we have for differentiating and for separating people.

 

It is something that the Lord seems to be very interested in, too. God cares about the diversity that exists in our world. He also gave us the various forms of civil governance and societal organization that have come to be known as the numerous nations that have existed in our world throughout history and that are with us today. The rich variety of languages, races, cultures, and other aspects of identity that are with us in our world are gifts that God has granted to us. Each of us knows our world in ways that are determined by who we are and by where we have come from. Although these differences can and do become barriers to our understanding and to our communication, they do not need to be so, for all people can know commonality and be in communion in Christ. When we are aligned in our relationships with Christ, the things that otherwise can be divisive can also be transformed into real blessings and so become sources for great joy.

 

God has made it clear in His Word that at the end of time there will no longer be many nations on this earth as all people will come to dwell in the restored creation that is all contained within the Kingdom of God. At this time, when we are still awaiting Christ’s return, we can seek to make the relational promises of that time a part of our living reality. When we encounter people whose skin color, language, customs, and other practices are different from ours, we can seek to get to know them. We can listen to their stories of life, enter into their dreams and desires, and share the same aspects of our lives with them. In so doing, we will learn that the person who might seem to be so different from us is, in fact, very much more like us than otherwise in that we all have been created in God’s image. Nations and the barriers to relationship that they may cause in our world should not stop followers of Christ from coming together with each other so that we can serve our Lord together in His call to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the corners of our world.

 

 

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