Cinco de Mayo and the Church of Jesus Christ

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Aside from its being the Third Sunday of Easter and other things, tomorrow also is Cinco de Mayo: not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain, as that is September 16 (1810), but the 1862 date of the outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over French forces, a victory that arguably affected not only the future of Mexico but also of the United States. The date, especially in the United States, now also serves as a celebration of Mexican-American culture and a day for reportedly consuming more beer than even during the Super Bowl, though more avocados are reportedly still consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than on Cinco de Mayo.

Maybe, as all people are said to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, all people might be said to be Mexican-American on Cinco de Mayo. But, the only time ethnicity really matters no longer is when people are baptized into Christ, for then, St. Paul says, for example, that there is neither Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3:28). Jesus died for all people, otherwise lost in sin, and, at least objectively, Jesus reconciles all to God, breaking down usual barriers and uniting together those who do not subjectively prevent their reconciliation to God (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Sometimes religious traditions are misperceived as being limited to a particular ethnicity, such as American Lutherans’ being predominantly German, or Kilgore’s Roman Catholic church that I recently visited’s being mostly Hispanic, even though neither limits membership by ethnicity. But, the true Church of Jesus Christ, as revealed to St. John in Revelation 7:9, consists of at least some people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.

That passage from Revelation is part of the basis for a stanza of the eighteenth-century hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (for example, Lutheran Service Book 549:6), which we at Pilgrim sang last Sunday. The stanza in mind calls for every kindred and every tribe on this terrestrial ball to ascribe to Jesus all majesty and to crown Him Lord of all – not only on Cinco de Mayo, but on every other day and for all eternity, as well.

The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.

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