Letters: Borders

This picture was taken from the Swiss side of the Doubs River (pronounced “du”) on the northwest side of Switzerland. The land in view is actually the southeast side of France.

In this place, the Doubs River establishes the borders of each of these countries.

If you were to get in a boat or kayak, you would notice high cliffs that were part of the border on each side of the river. These borders were very valuable back in the days of conquest and defense. To have a water border with cliffs alongside your borders, it would be difficult to advance an army across borders.

Switzerland has the advantage of river and mountain borders. This is a benefit in defense of a country. This also helps when being a neutral company. It is a safer place than most because people can’t get in.

Another view of the Swiss border is this mountain cleft. It is hard to see, but there is a Swiss flag suspended between the two cliff faces.

You drive under this flag, through a tunnel, to get to the border patrol for France. They were nice, however a quick u-turn allowed us the freedom to discover a French statement on the border.

A rooster.

I’m not sure what this rooster was all about. So I did a little research!

Did you know that the national symbol for France, “the singing rooster,” has spiritual implications? In the middle ages, the singing rooster symbolized the morning or victorious light or resurrection. But don’t take it from me . . . check out this link from Wikipedia.

So there it is, in all it’s glory, the Gallic Rooster. Looking at me with pride, and ready to sing to it’s hearts content, the song of the French.

The Swiss flag billowing in the wind between two cliffs.

A border claimed by two nations. The identity of each nation on display for the other to see.

As I saw these two statements on the border of the two countries, it struck me.

Everyday we struggle with others that approach our borders. Our borders that we claim are many. Some of us build a fence around our back yard. Some of us put a fence around our entire yard…with a keyless entry point…with a guard tower. Some of us live in a state or region or environment that is bordered by what we agree on.

Backyard Fences

Privacy. True, you can say hello to your neighbors. But when you want to shut off all human beings, you close the gate and enjoy your time behind the fence. Sure your front door looks inviting and welcoming. But when was the last time you opened your front door?

The fence, as a border, is able to look nice or just be functional. The border does it’s job by being able to keep others out. Unless they have a key to the gate!

Keyless Entry

Then there’s the ultimate border for a home: a fence around your entire yard, with a gate, with keyless entry. You drive up and push a button in your car. The gate opens up and you drive through. The gate closes behind you. As you drive up to your home, you pull up to the garage and hit another button. The garage opens, you drive in and close the door behind you.

Whew! You got in to your house with no one seeing you . . . except the dogs that barked at you as you drove up the driveway. Your manufactured border has allowed you to interact with the world during the day, but have a safe fortress of a home when you aren’t at work. The only folks allowed in are those you let in.

Common State

Then there are the borders that aren’t really tangible. Sure, national lines and state lines and teams you support and the color of skin you hang out with. But those are the easy ones. What I’m talking about is:

…that cause that you jumped on board with.

…that guy you supported because he said he was going to be different than the other guy.

…those folks that wear the same thing you do, or sing the same way you do, or agree on the same things as you when you walk into that space on Sunday morning.

The best thing about these borders is that you are able to maneuver them how you want to. You can pick the people you organize with. You can pick the cause you go after with other folks. You can vote and be heard. If the person you voted for doesn’t get in, you can wait a while and vote again.

Borders

Some words from Paul to the Galatians and to us:

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:19-29 NASB)

While we were with the Saints in Switzerland we were able to connect with them in a way that was not American. It was not Swiss. While we were with the Saints in France we were able to connect with them in a way that was not French.

We connected through Christ.

Our brother, Gilbert, reminded us, “We are a country without borders.”

The Lord has given us His Promise. There are no borders.

And the words of Paul to the Colossian Church:

…you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him – a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:9-11 NASB)

No borders.

Christ transcends backyards, garages, keys, causes, politics, and dare I say, the Sunday morning space that we all inhabit. No matter where we are sitting, standing, talking, or sleeping.

There are no borders in Christ.

When we see ourselves committed to one side of the fence, may we step back and see what Christ is doing…and be in Him.

When we see ourselves judging other folks for their cause, may we step back and see what Christ is doing…and be in Him.

When we see ourselves selling a way of thinking and rationalizing and singing and reading and praying, may we step back and see what Christ is doing…and be in Him.

No borders.

Christ is all, and in all.

What Borders have you seen? What Borders have you removed from your life?

4 comments

  1. Trevor Honeycutt · September 27, 2012

    Thank you Jesus that the gates are open in your Kingdom to “whosoever will come”, and that you are a being that can walk through the walls of protection that we build.

    Another border that I’ve seen over the years is the one that gets erected around our heart, to protect us from pain and rejection. The problem is that while this wall does an ok job of reducing the pain, it also dramatically hinders the richness of transparency and love.

    I’m so glad that Jesus is bold enough to walk through our walls, so that we can be set-free from the pens of our own making. And that His heart is wide-open to us.

    • jimpuntney · September 27, 2012

      Trevor, your comment on Jesus walking through walls is profound, thanks bro!

  2. jimpuntney · September 27, 2012

    In this age we see division, this is manifest in a myriad of ways. Division is natural to our natural mind. “In” Christ there is liberty, freedom, and life. This life transcends borders, or divisions, and brings unity, understanding, and community.

    To live in Christ is to be free from our natural way of dividing, or establishing borders. This indeed makes us vulnerable, yet at the same time secure. We are vulnerable to those that would choose to take advantage of our freedom, and lack of borders. Yet our defense is not our defense, but of and in Christ.

    As we explore together this land of promise that we share in Christ we rejoice in the diversity that comes in unity. We rejoice in the collective expression of Jesus as we learn and grow with “one another”. In it all and through it all Christ is expressed, magnified, and His name, His love, and His grace is displayed.

  3. Pingback: September Pivot :: Letters « marklchampion

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