Devotional: April 25, 2020
The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. Ephesians 2: 14-18 The Message Have you ever considered how different our valley would feel without the Odabashian bridge on the northside of our community, and the Senator George Sellar bridge further south? With only what is now the foot bridge, and our growing population, we would basically be cut off from one another. Bridges serve to bring people together. One of the wonderful things about our Lord is how He longs to bring different groups of people together. Here, Paul is referring to Jesus coming for both Jews and Gentiles. As our stress-filled world sometimes pits one group against another, it is good to remember how Jesus can bridge every divide, and break down every wall. Now, just to be clear, I’m not referring to a little friendly cross-town athletic rivalry (Wenatchee vs. East Wenatchee). The awesome thing about these verses from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is that they are not just words: they are truth. At the recent ECO National Gathering in Texas, I got together with a classmate of mine from Seminary. He is Caucasian: a freckle-faced guy with red hair, but he serves a mixed-race congregation. God has blessed his ministry in Dallas, and people in his church see him as simply Pastor Clay, not as “our white minister.” In fact, when he went through a difficult time a few years ago, one his African American friends said to him, “Clay, you may be white on the outside, but you are black on the inside!” This parishioner obviously felt that the color of Clay’s skin didn’t matter. The point is that Christ breaks down every wall, including every racial division. Right now, our world seems to be uniting around its admiration for, and applauding of, those on the front lines in this coronavirus crisis, including health care workers, and first responders. I believe our Lord would appreciate the unifying nature of our mutual gratitude. Our Lord is not about dividing people. He is all about bringing peace, and understanding, and unity to our divided and hostile world. As the old song goes, “He’s got the whole world in His hands!” Prayer Reconciling God, Thank you for Your love, and the way in which You reached out to all of us, equally, in spite of our differences. May we always remember that what unites us is greater than what divides us. We long for the day when the world embraces Your love, discovering You are the one to bridge every divide, break down every wall, and heal every wound. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. PS. Tomorrow, Sunday's worship will focus on John 21: 4-17, with a sermon entitled, "Finding forgiveness after failure: Jesus restores Peter".