When Seretse Khama falls in love with Ruth in London there is surely trouble ahead. Seretse is a prince, about to be made king back in his native Bechuanaland and the last thing his people want is a leader with a white wife. This is, after all, the late 1940s and the government of neighbouring South Africa has just invented a little thing called apartheid. However, Seretse and Ruth love each other deeply, and they are not going to let a small thing like segregation get in the way. They marry in London and return to a bewildered and angry Bechuanaland. Not only are Khama’s own people upset, the UK government is none too pleased either, and both countries are intent on breaking up this inconvenient marriage.
In his letter to the Galatians, in chapter 3 v 28, Paul makes an astonishing statement. In Jesus, Paul writes, there are no divides. No racial, cultural or class divides. In Jesus everyone is equal. When you watch a film like A United Kingdom you realise what a radical statement this is, we still live in a world racked with all kinds of division, we often judge ourselves by the ways we differ from others. But it’s not true Paul assures us. In Jesus there is nothing to divide us. Absolutely nothing. His kingdom, is a united kingdom. Sadly the church has been as guilty as anyone down the ages of propagating division, we have not proved to be a good example, living out this call. Paul himself had once championed the divide between people, arresting those who were different from him, those who followed this radical way of Jesus. But Paul has changed, he met Jesus on a road and has never been the same.
‘There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus.’ We might add no rich or poor, wise or foolish, ordinary or celebrity, known or unknown, big or small, EU or non-EU. You may think of others. The walls have tumbled. In this world we may still build them, but there are many who have found themselves accepted in Jesus, many who are now doing what they can to fight for acceptance, rather than separation, peace instead of disharmony.