“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.”
~ Philippians 1.20
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” ~ Westminster Shorter Catechism
Paul writes these words to the saints at Philippi while in prison. Earlier in the letter, he says to them, “What has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear” (1.12-14). What an amazing testimony! He has gotten into trouble for spreading the gospel and continues, while in chains, to spread the good news to those around him and to the believers at Philippi. Paul has not allowed his present condition to dissuade him to stop speaking. Instead, it has only changed his audience. Not only that but it has encouraged others to speak in Christ’s name with the fear of imprisonment because he is in prison and remains faithful to the message.
Paul continues to speak boldly, believing that either in life or by death, Christ will be exalted in his body. He has given his body as an instrument to be used for God’s glory if not in the way that he lives then in the manner in which he dies. Paul wants God to be recognized through the actions of his body.
How does race assist us in glorifying God in and through our bodies? How does race and the racialized body spread the good news of Jesus Christ? How does it encourage us to proclaim the message of a new life in Christ brazenly and courageously? If race is used to engender hatred and bring division, if race seeks to exalt itself above the knowledge of Christ and the position of God as Creator, how then can our being black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige Christians assist us in our chief end, which is to bring glory to God? The answer is quite simple. It can’t and because it cannot, we should not keep it. We must shed our bodies, our identities, our lives of race and pursue the raceless life, proclaiming the raceless gospel of Jesus Christ so that we might bring glory to God.