Going Deeper 07.15.2021

The second reading for Pentecost 8... Ephesians 2:11-22

So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” —a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Many of you have heard me say many times that my greatest concern at this time is the increasing and hardening polarization of our country as a result of our political climate.  As one young man posted on Facebook a while back, we must "Be Careful.  They Want us to Hate Each Other!"  Sadly true.  There are forces at work seeking to drive us into uncivil wars.

Of course, as the writer of Ecclesiastes said so long ago, there is nothing new under the sun.  Division, conflict, and war has been an tragically enduring part of our history as humans.  In our land, the ideal of truly and fully being the "UNITED States of America" has never fully been realized, as racial, socio-economic, political, and (sadly) religious tensions have causes ongoing rifts.  Perhaps there is no hope for healing and reconciliation?

Well... there is one hope.  In our text Paul wrote about the one force capable of healing the most hardened of divisions-- the grace of God revealed and delivered through "through the cross."  Although the healing was never fully realized, the birth of the Church brought together Jews and Gentiles, two radically different religious and cultural and even political groups who were full of hostility toward one another.  Being reconciled with God can powerfully work to bring reconciliation between His children.

I believe this is the only force with the potential to bring the healing so desperately needed.  To say we have got a lot of work to do might be the most ridiculous understatement ever uttered.  And yet while the enormous challenge appears to be impossible, I would point to the illustration about how a person goes about eating an elephant-- one bite at a time.  The healing happens one relationship at a time.  And with God, all things are possible.  Let's never give up.

Together in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"