Dear Inspiration Seekers,
Well, with the themes of Order and Disobedience on the table, you might expect that Paul would move right into some line about Obedience. No, in fact he disqualifies this, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations (2:15). If obeying rules does not bring one to Order, then what does? Unity.
Paul brings in a theme addressed in many of his letters to Gentile churches. He writes about bringing the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians together. Order is not for servitude, it is to destroy the barrier (2:14), to create in himself one new man out of two (2:15). Unity restores Order.
Our history is filled with attempts at unity and periods of disorder. Political powers and leaders consolidate governance and social opinion in laws in attempts to achieve peace and prosperity. At times, we even have the illusion that such states have been achieved, such as Queen Victor’s Pax Britania, or Eisenhower’s 1950’s, or Clinton’s 1990’s. But, struggles elsewhere in Europe brought WWI and WWII, the Cold War brewed into the mess of the 1960’s, and al Qaeda awaited for a weak leader.
Sciences attempt to define laws of nature and physics, expecting that such will provide rational unity. With books filled with observations and computers filled with data, we believe that we can predict today’s weather, tomorrow’s earthquake, and the origins the universe. Yet, with every smaller bit of atomic partical, we must revise our earlier projections, now down to God Particles. Come back in 5 years when all that science will be forgotten for the next discovery.
The Personal Growth industry churns out hundres of books that offer us the newest in order for our diets, communication skills, identity explorations, career development, management styles, etc. Many of these follow a structure of outlining 5 to 10 key elements, that if followed will bring us a more orderly life. While many have some good ideas, I find that their authoritarian attitude usually annoys those who already understand their concepts and alienates those to whom the authors should be addressing. I have met many people who can quote the book, but not apply the ideas to their lives.
Paul brings this Unity with Order back to the Mystery. The Mystery is that Christ’s message was not only for the Jewish, who had anticipated a messiah, but also for the Gentiles. As the Hebrew tradition sees only those two groups, the Mystery is that Unity is the fulfillment of Order. It is not Us and Them, but We. …this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. (3:9)
Until next time, Inspiration Seekers