Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lectionary 16 B - Ephesians 2:11-22

Ephesians 2:11-22
I've read this passage more times than I can remember and have always celebrated it as good news and of course it is. But then I am a “citizen with the saints” who otherwise would have been an alien and a stranger cut off from the covenant with no hope and without God. I imagine it was read differently by those who saw the “dividing wall” as faithfulness and not hostility, who waxed poetic about the perfect law that revives the soul and makes the simple wise. (Psalm 19:7) Truth is even the apostle Paul resisted the new arrangement with violence, breathing “murderous threats” (Acts 9:1) against those who claimed the Christ as Messiah and Lord.  Years after Paul breached the wall the commonwealth of Israel was expelled from the household of God by the aliens and strangers who erected a new wall of hostility. I’m guessing God hoped for a different outcome but like the “in the beginning” gone wrong in the garden this was a moment when all the possibilities of the perfect future were available in the present and humans chose to remain mired in the past. That does not mean we need to stay there. We can embrace this text from the other side of history and tear down the walls we have erected. We can stop defining “us” by denigrating “them”. We can choose to be people who proclaim peace to all who have been exiled to “far off” and by living the hope of the future be ourselves a holy “dwelling place for God.” 

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