The apostle must have anticipated the situation in Britain, circa 2019.
In his epistle to the Galatians, who were struggling to reconcile their identities with the new religion, Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
I don’t know how faithfully the addressees followed Paul’s prescriptions, but things clearly haven’t quite worked out that way since. That is, the notion of “neither male nor female” has indeed made some headway, but probably not in the way Paul had in mind.
However, perhaps this one day of the year we can set aside our identities, real or imaginary, and remind ourselves that there shines a transcendent equality that can extinguish all crepuscular pseudo-equalities, putting in the shade the petty distinctions that seem so vital to us now.
That this may happen is only a hope. But then the same author, this time writing to the Corinthians, put hope at the centre of the ultimate triad: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three…”
Merry Christmas to all!