Gather people together around a common cause and you will create ‘us and them’. What can be more familiar than the differences between ‘us and them’?
We first learned of this at home. When you asked your mother why you could not stay out at the park until ten o’clock with your favourite neighbour Dale Peterson, she educated you to the fact that you were not a Peterson. The rules of our house were different from the others. There was ‘us’ and there was ‘them’. ‘We’ do not play in the park after eight o’clock on a school night. There may have even been a question raised about the Peterson’s lack of structure or care for their children.
Children quickly learn to differentiate between the desirable kids and the undesirable-- the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. They perpetuate what they see all around them.
A reading of Jesus’ words and action reveals a vision of humanity that redefines ‘us and them’. As a Jewish man from an unimportant town, He taught a new way of looking at Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female, master and slave. He did not obliterate cultural and gender distinctions, but redefined the rules according to God’s emerging Kingdom.