Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
At a recent conference, I was invited to do something I've never really thought about before - share my pronouns. As our society becomes more aware of differences in gender, sex, and the ways people present themselves, there is a movement to become more intentional about referring to people in the way they prefer. Do you use he, him, his? They, them, theirs? I use she, her, hers.
When confronted with this question, I can't help but this think of this scripture passage which gives us a glimpse of what things will be like in the kingdom of God - and really, what we should be aiming for now. When we are baptized in Christ, we are to lose these distinctions that we use to separate each other from one another. All of the labels that we apply are supposed to fall away, as we identify ourselves solely as followers of Jesus.
Until the kingdom of God is fully realized, we are unlikely to completely lose the labels we use for one another. And in truth, I think this idea of identifying our pronouns, and intentionally using the pronouns others choose for themselves, is important. It's a way of showing respect for who they are. Perhaps the first step for us is not skipping the identifiers all together, but recognizing them for what they are - a way to see the humanity of the person before us. And when we can see each other as full people made in the image of God, we can build our relationship from a solid foundation.
Lord who created me as I am, help me to see others as you created them to be. Help us to build relationships with one another on a foundation of acknowledging our common love of you, and your love for us. Amen.