Dutch version

Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 3, verses 25 – 29.

25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When Muslims accomplish the hadj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, they are all identically clothed in white. Distinction by race or social status is out of the question. In Allah’s eyes, everyone is equal within the one worldwide Islamic religious community. This is called umma in Arabic, a word related to the word for ‘mother’.

Christians know the white baptism gown. More important is another cloth: Christ. You can wear it as a piece of clothing in which you may inundate. You will be wrapped up with Him even. In Him, you will become holy and immaculate. Baby or grown-up, you will undergo your baptism as a ‘sign and seal’ that the Father in heaven adopted you in Christ, as His child.

At the same time, you will receive a new ‘mother’. That word can be found in chapter 4:26. A beautiful name for the “holy catholic church” and the “communion” of all sorts of “saints”. Jewish Christians who were circumcised, did not have to feel embarrassed for that interference. Neither could they pride oneself on the old sacrament. The removal of the foreskin became superfluous for Greeks, Celts, Indians and Canadians. Through BAPTISM they could share in the privileges of their eldest brothers and sisters.

Western European Christians are not privileged in any way than Christians from elsewhere. Every congregation should be a colourful ecumenical congregation. Tricky? Not at all, it tastes more-ish!

Do Muslims fit in your society? A Pakistani in a British church? A white American church in an Afro-American neighbourhood? Can a believer from a muslim background be an elder in a church in the Middle East?
To sing: Children of the heavenly father

Children of the Heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given