IN CHRIST THERE IS NO EAST OR WEST
John Oxenham, 1852–1941
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
One of the clear teachings of the Bible is that the gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any race or culture. In the past, missionary endeavor has too frequently imposed “our” culture on others while spreading the gospel, often putting native believers in bondage to another culture rather than to Christ and the Scriptures alone.
Written in 1908 by the noted English writer, John Oxenham, this missionary hymn text was part of a script for a pageant at a giant missionary event sponsored by the London Missionary Society’s exhibition, The Orient in London. It is estimated that over a quarter of a million people viewed this presentation. It was continued from 1908–1914 both in England and in the United States.
An interesting account of the impact of this hymn relates an incident during the closing days of World War II when two ships were anchored together, one containing Japanese aliens, and the other American soldiers, all waiting to be repatriated. For an entire day they lined the rails, glaring at one another. Suddenly someone began to sing “In Christ There Is No East Or West.” Then another on the opposite ship joined in. Soon there was an extraordinary chorus of former enemies unitedly praising God with these words:
In Christ there is no East or West, in him no South or North, but one great fellowship of love thru out the whole wide earth.
In Him shall true hearts ev’rywhere their high communion find; His service is the golden cord close-binding all mankind.
Join hands then, brothers of the faith, whate’er your race may be; who serves my Father as a son is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both East and West, in Him meet South and North; all Christly souls are one in Him throughout the whole wide earth.
Words from “Bees in Amber” by John Oxenham
For Today: Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 9:1–3; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 1:27; 1 Peter 3:8
Purpose to pray each day of the week for the work of the gospel in a different area of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the Pacific, the Caribbean … Perhaps this musical message will be a helpful reminder—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive, that god is no [respector] of persons. But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34-35
- I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in mine heart. For I would wish myself to be separate from Christ, for my brethren that are my kinsmen according to the flesh, Romans 9:1–3
- Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3
- Only let our conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your matters, that ye continue in one spirit, and in one mind, fighting together through the faith of the Gospel. Philippians 1:27
- Finally, be ye all of one mind: one suffer with another: love as brethren: be pitiful, be courteous. 1 Peter 3:8