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Ephesians 2:14-22 (The Message)
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 He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped.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.
That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
Yesterday after I posted my daily blog about Love and cute kids and Rob Bell’s new book, I saw a couple of links about another pastor who really liked the book. Except he actually lost his job because of his commentary. Unreal! So I also posted that link and quite the lively conversation has begun. I love it. There are conversations about people accepting other people…there are commentaries about different regions of the United States and others talking about how we can connect with all parts of community. These are good conversations…keep them up!
In addition I posted the question, “What would you love to hear preached?” The answers have been really great and add much variety although they are not new. This intrigues me. I guess I always think that people want to hear something new at sermon time or least this is what I hear in the moment…either that or more indepth biblical stuff. So I was a bit surprised to see some basics written down…love, forgiveness, acceptance. So I ask you this question as well. What would you LOVE to hear preached sometime from the pulpit? Get creative and wild and let me know.
Today’s scripture is about community. It came up in the lectionary and I thought we would explore it a bit in these contexts because Paul is dealing with some of the same stuff…mainly who is “in” and who is “out.” Isn’t that what we are dealing with around Rob Bell’s book to some extent? Bell is talking about the basic and ever popular question of who is in and who is out and then moving on to how we live with one another.
So what are some ways that we can live with one another? Well, it starts out small and gangly….
These are some of the seedlings that are being prepped for garden. It takes a bit for stuff to germinate even in community and then when stuff takes off, it takes off! But it’s not fully grown or developed yet.
This is what Paul is talking about…the ground is all prepped for community. Jesus made it so that we are all on the same ground, no one as the advantage and we are all together in this. But this takes time and conversation and prepping and growth. This takes the texts that get us to think and the questions of what we should talk about. It takes facebook links and connecting with each other.
So today perhaps there is a way that you would like to prep the ground for community. Perhaps its something green or something connective. Perhaps its a spiritual discipline or a bit of research. Perhaps is letting someone know that we are all in this together.