Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
We are called to know and love ourselves and others in a deeper, more spiritual way. It starts with us so that we can truly love others. Then we can know one another in a way centered on love and be a witness to the world as it says in John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
To be a disciple of Jesus is to follow Him. But oftentimes we overlook things that we have seen in the Scripture as something we should follow Jesus in as well.
What are we speaking of? His History. His Heritage.
So much is made of Jesus’ history. Matthew 1 is a genealogy of where Jesus comes from. In His bloodline on earth are characters of great renown and great disgrace redeemed by greater grace.
Abraham and David. Men and women. Saints and sinners, each.
It wasn’t just Jesus. The Apostle Paul recounts his own history in Philippians 3. In fact, the Scriptures themselves are an actual account of the history of God’s people. It was important to know one’s own heritage (culture and background) and history (personal and familial).
Do you know your heritage?
Do you know your history?
Without understanding where we come from, we miss so much of…
Why we are the way we are.
How God has worked in our heritage and history.
What sin has stolen and what needs to be redeemed.
Through the lens in which we read / understand Scripture
The unique contributions we can make to the church in the fullness of God
It mattered that Jesus was Jewish. It matters that you are... Vietnamese, French, Korean, Chinese, etc. It matters that, for some, their more recent heritage is as immigrants too. It matters because within culture are already great reflections of the Kingdom of God and the brokenness of sin. Ignoring these unique aspects that make up the full spectrum of who we are, as God created and shaped us, is like saying "all lives matter." It's like saying "I don't see color or race." Heaven, the kingdom of God fully realized, is a multitude of uniquely different people:
Rev 7:9: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands."
Unity is not homogeneity or uniformity.
Unity is a colorful mosaic of unique, distinct, different persons coming together to co-exist.
When we discover it: we unlock truth -- and truth can set us free. Free from anger and hatred of our culture and heritage. Free from generational, cultural patterns that we did not know exist. Free to love our family’s history and ask God to redeem our own sin and brokenness. And to discover the beauty of God already at work within us, in our heritage and history.
Your heritage is multifaceted, an intersection of numerous cultures (this is the idea behind the term intersectionality, that a person’s experience is not just that of being of woman, or that of being a person of color, or that of being a cis/trans person, or that of being an abled/disabled, etc., but the intersection of how all of those elements of your identity affect your experiences and the way you experience treatment by people and society).
There’s your ethnic heritage, there’s the culture of being “second generation” (ex. Korean-American, not just Korean).
As Asian Americans/children of immigrants, we grow up with a dual consciousness: one of being Asian (or something else), especially in the home with our parents, the food we eat, and the traditions we observe, and the other of being American, especially as we go through the American public education system and consume American food, media, and culture.