A Quote about Belonging

A quote for us to ponder about belonging:

If the problem with the [roman] empire was that it imposed religious, ethnic, cultural and economic divisiveness and marginalization, then the alternative of the kingdom is a community in which Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). So Paul writes in 3:9-11:

“You have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of it’s creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!”

…, the church is the beginning of the new humanity for the new creation….

 In Paul’s vision [Christian] community not only abandons the discourse of violence and exclusion that characterizes the [roman] empire; it manifests an ethos that embraces the pain of the world, a compassion, a shared passion, that pays attention to the deepest brokenness of its human and nonhuman neighbours. This is an ethic of compassion, because the God of Israel revealed in Jesus is a God of compassion who hears his people’s cry and knows their suffering (Ex. 3:7). Jesus calls his followers to be compassionate just as their Father is compassionate (see Lk. 6:36).

— Walsh, Brian, and Sylvia C. Keesmaat, “Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire”,  InterVarsity Press, 2004, pp. 172-174.