This is my minister’s message as presented to the people of The Lakes Parish (Uniting Church) in their March 2017 newsletter
Shalom ye Gippslanders of God.
Equality is one of those words which has become loaded with all sorts of meanings in our post-modern world. In contrast to the selfless character of Jesus it seems that grasping for sameness in position, authority, value, and income is a necessary and desirable activity. Today (March 5th) we read of Eve and Adam seeking equality with God, and thereby breaking the sacred trust between God and humankind. As the pinnacle of Creation man and woman were made to be stewards of creation and co-workers with God, however our desire for more than what had been provided breaks the whole system.
With that in mind I wonder about the gaps between women and men in our day. Not only in terms of gender inequality (women get less money and do more vacuuming), but economic inequality (the poor are getting sicker), social inequality (the loud ones rule the world), and spiritual inequality (dogma trumps love) is our world fallen. Our need for Jesus is not limited to restoring what Eve and Adam destroyed in the garden, but extends to the need for grace in what every woman and man has done since in the city, the wilderness, and the home.
In God’s perfection equality is not something to be demanded or snatched (Philippians 2:6, Genesis 3:5), but something to be revealed as people in community act with the fruit of the Spirit in their interactions with each other. So, in this season of Lent I urge you in the Spirit to defer to one another in love; to acknowledge the worth of the person with whom you are speaking, rather than insisting that they acknowledge your value back to you. If Christians act as if the people around us are only a little lower than the angels in value perhaps no one will feel the need for aggression about their perceived inequality.