“There is neither Greek nor Italian, Iranian nor American, Bulgarian nor Egyptian, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Our experience at Sunday morning worship in Athens could have been described in that way. Citizens from all over the world gathered together to worship God. We were different in many ways, but what brought us together was Jesus. What brought us together was the word that described all of us: Christians.

Paul says it this way, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). In the churches in the region of Galatia, Christians had divided themselves based on their ethnic backgrounds. Paul reminds them that their baptism has placed them into Christ and this is what identifies them. In a culture with such global influence, you would think we would understand Paul’s truth without the need for a reminder. Sometimes, though, we more quickly identify ourselves by our nationality, ethnicity, or political party. Paul reminds us that our first identity is found in Christ. We are Christians.

And the beauty of being a Christian is that we are not only part of a local congregation of believers, but we are also a part of the universal church, the worldwide community of Christians. Anthropologists introduced the term glocal to describe the tension that exists between people who live in local settings, but participate in a global network of interconnectedness. Christians experience this beautiful tension too. We are part of local churches and the global church. We are “glocal” Christians. And we are “are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Today, I will…pray for my local church and for Christians across the globe. And I will prioritize this prayer for the kingdom of God over my prayers for my own country.