One of the easiest things to do in life is to create barriers. These barriers can be anything, but the core of what makes a barrier is identity. It can be a good thing. It is very helpful for Christians who want to understand their faith through the formation of tradition.
It can also be a bad thing. One tendency in making barriers is to build walls around us that have no open doors to allow someone to enter our group. It then becomes the primary focus of some people to have barriers. When we seek to know God better, this type of living is no longer useful. To better understand that, we turn to Scriptures, the account of God’s working in history.
In Joshua, we see a group that is potentially the most exclusive group in the history of the world, Israel. Repeatedly, the Israelites decide to take their land and not allow anyone else in it to live. It is very easy to find the history here, but there is also a theological point to the book. In order to understand that point, we must look at two things:
1) Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute (the worst Canaanite a Jewish reader could think of) was spared and 2) God did not kill everyone and neither did Israel.
With those points made, we turn to the theological question found in Joshua: What does it mean to be a part of God’s chosen and who is in that group? For part of the answer, you look back to the Torah, but for second answer, you see Rahab and other Canaanites that survived and begin to wonder who is in and who is out of the tradition of Israel.
Jesus takes this question a step further when sees more faith in the Roman Officer in Luke 7. He turns to the Jewish people and says this is better faith than He has seen in all of Israel. He is saying this to a group of people who’s tradition would have said a Roman or any gentile oppressor or overlord was incapable of having any faith like that.
These accounts keep repeating the same question. However, as we move further, we begin to ask a new question, a more important one. Where is your relationship? Who or what do you want to know more? Are you more concerned about your tradition or is God your primary concern?
In Christianity, we must remember that our most desired person is God. If we seek our tradition first, then we forget that our tradition is about seeking God first.
But if we seek God first, our tradition is made better and is transformed.