I haven't got to watch as much of the Olympics as I have in times past. I have gotten to see Michael Phelps dominate, which has been totally impressive.
Isn't it interesting how something like the Olympics can unite our culture? For a brief moment we have forgetten about race, crime, politics, and the laundry list of other things we argue about and we are simply all Americans, cheering on our country.
It's not that those other things aren't there, they've just sort of taken a back seat momentarily as we are united in Rio.
As I consider this phenomenon, my mind is drawn to the power of the gospel. In Ephesians, Paul writes:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility - Ephesians 2:13-14
One of the beauties of the gospel is that it's not merely about bringing us into a right relationship with God. Yes, that is paramount, and the richest glory of Christ's work. However, that's not all. We are also reconciled to one another. In Christ, Jews and Gentiles are one. Black and White are one. Rich and poor are one. American and Chinese are one.
The gospel transcends all racial, economic, political, cultural, and social barriers!
This is why no one in the New Testsment planted any sort of 'cultural specific' church. In Phillipi there wasn't a jailer church and a seller of purple goods church. There was the church at Phillipi. Why? Because of the unifying power of the gospel.
The gospel breaks down walls. It's not that cultural differences are evaporated. It's just that they take a back seat to Christ. In Jesus, we have more in common than we do differences. In Jesus, we are a new family. In Jesus, we have a bond that cannot be broken.
Soon, the Olympics will be over. Phelps will go back to doing whatever he does when he's not winning gold medals. The presidential race will again be front and center. The unifying power of the games is real, but also fleeting. Not true of the gospel; it's power is eternal.
I wonder if your church reflects this? Does it reflect the community around you? Does it show the world that the gospel transcends these barriers that divide our culture? If not, what can you do to change that?
"...to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." - Eph 3:21