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.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22
This letter from Paul is one declaring community and oneness in Christ. Peace has arrived in the presence of Jesus Christ. There is no division. There is no separateness or hostility. We are called to participate in the good works of reconciliation.
Whew! Peace is here? We are living together without conflict when we become one with Christ?
May we remember this well of peace that is there for us to draw on always. We don’t make it. It is here in us and when we gather in his name.
Paul is calling for people to come together in a time of great estrangement between Jews and Gentiles. Jesus comes in to this world of division and disagreement as “the peace.” Columbia Theological Seminary Professor George W. Stroup notes that, “Because Christ is our peace, we as Christians understand peacemaking differently than do many other people.”
Stroup states that, “peace has already been made” adding, “The peace Christians have in Christ enables us to engage boldly, perhaps even foolishly, in what may appear to the rest of the world to be hopeless situations.”
These are words to ponder and apply to our lives as we find ourselves in a time that is often not peaceful and in families and even churches that can be quick to draw lines in anger. Speaking from 2000 years ago, Paul’s words remind us that those in Christ understand the things that make for peace are not hidden. The peace is with us. Jesus is with us. This peace is the foundation of a Sanctuary with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.
Paul writes, “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.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)
May we have faith in the peace of Jesus Christ within us individually and in community knowing we gather in sanctuary with him every moment of our lives. May this peace be boldly present to one another and to the world!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Pam Brokaw pastors both the Rochester and Oakville United Methodist Churches.
She is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, where she earned her Masters in Divinity.