This is an old post I re-share as I slowly get back into writing, following the death of my wife.
This Scripture reminds us it is not the outward trappings of religion – circumcision, baptism, hijab – that matter to God. These each are intended to remind us of the need for inner transformation, to have a heart open and cooperative with God’s lead. Those outward trappings too often are what we judge each other concerning, when God cares not for which outward symbols we use or what name we put to our religion. God cares – does it lead us to do justice in our daily lives? To exercise mercy and compassion to the suffering? To walk with humility, openness, and willingness to learn? These are the qualities of one walking with God. There are people of all faiths who proudly wear the symbols of their faith as badges of respectability who fail to live these principles out. And there are people of every faith and culture, and of no faith at all, who practice these. Those are the ones guided by the Spirit, whatever name they call themselves. They are the ones who answer to the name “My beloveds” when God calls.