Daily Devotional April 20, 2023

“So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Galatians 3:26-28,NIV)

I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin’ Pin.
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin.
I stretched back, and I hiccupped;
And looked back on my busy day.
Eleven hours in the tin pan
God, there’s got to be another way.

     Well, who are you?

     This is the question posed by Pete Townsend, co-founder, and guitarist of The Who. The song is based on a visit Pete made to the recording studio in London, England known as Tin Pan Alley. Following a contentious meeting with a group of music executives over royalties earned for his songs, Pete went to a bar and drank himself into oblivion.

     The second stanza describes Pete lying in a doorway in Soho. A police officer recognizes Pete and tells him he can go home if he is able to walk. In an expletive-laden rant, Pete asks the Bobby, “Who are you?”  

     Well, the greater question is who are you, Pete? Pete was part of what has been called the sixties revolution. But by the time “Who Are You” was written in 1978, Pete Townshend seemed to have struggled with not only his place in this world but his greater sense of identity.

     I don’t think Pete is alone. Ask people the question about their identity, and depending on the context you will hear a variety of responses. I am Chinese. I am a Republican. I am a Texan. I am non-binary. These self-descriptive labels may pinpoint the culture or locale into which one is born or the beliefs and loyalties one holds, but they fall shy of identifying the essence of who they
are as a person.

     Enter Paul the Apostle. In the Scripture above, Paul references a particular practice in the life of the early Church. As individuals were baptized, they would walk into a pre-dug grave filled with water. They would be immersed three times in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then they would emerge from the grave and given a new white robe, as each person is welcomed into the family of God.

     The previous social labels of Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female were superseded by one’s foundational identity as a child of God. This new distinction leveled the field between persons from different demographic backgrounds, it shaped the new Christian’s beliefs, values, loyalties, ambitions, and lifestyle. Moreover, as this family of Christians grew, the world around them changed and became more and more reflective of the Kingdom Jesus had come to establish.

     So, you say that you want to live in a world different from the one you now see? That world begins with a question that only you can answer.

      Who are you?