One of the first sermons that I remember preaching was about identity. How each of us carry these multiple layers of meaning by which we relate to the world and the world relates to us. Some of these layers we have inherited or have been given to us by others, while others are ones that we have worked for and strive to maintain. Some are harmful and some are helpful, some speak to the truth of who we are while others perpetuate a false self.
My text for that morning was 2 Corinthians 5,
So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
If this is true, then the weight of our agonizing layers is no longer our burden to carry alone, the polish on our prized layers no longer determines our worth, our intersectional complexities are known by God and are being transformed by Christ to be part of the New Creation.
This transformation happens in Community- where people who have recognized their own masks can see clearly to help another identify their true self. This process of discipleship is not quick or easy, but opens the door to being known beyond the labels of prejudice or privilege, tokenism or talent, attribute or abuse. Beneath all of these layers, whatever fears we have of self-knowledge or exposure are allowed to dissipate in the healing and redeeming presence of Christ.