by Pastor Mark
“And in [Jesus] you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22, NIV)
Throughout most of September, we have explored what it means to begin a new life with God, recognizing we are sinners in need of salvation, and believe that our lives matter to God and the people God wants us to reach with his Good News. This week we will explore what it means to belong to God’s holy family.
Our text for today emphasizes the reality that we are no longer foreigners and strangers to God or other people thanks to faith in Jesus. This points to both a cultural and spiritual point of view: culturally, those who are not born into Jewish families have access to God’s family; and spiritually, we only get this access through Jesus, who died to defeat the sting of sin and deliver us into God’s family. Our passage for today presents the beautiful image of differing stones and blocks coming together to erect God’s holy temple. This is only possible because Jesus tore down the old walls and barriers that divide (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus did that work and asks you and me to live into it.
What walls do you still look to make or maintain between you and others? Differences in opinions? Politics? Age? Gender? Lifestyle? Personal preferences? Favorite cuisine or sports teams? Jesus came to tear down the dividing walls so we all can be built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. God wants to inhabit your life and the community to which we are called…his body…the church. You belong to him and to each other. Will you let Jesus, our eternal creative carpenter, build you into God’s family where you know you belong?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love, grace, and mercy in Jesus, the one who used his nail-scarred hands to tear down the walls of hostility we are so eager to build, and instead build up your body to show we belong to you. Forgive me for the times I look first for differences I have with others as opposed to the blood you spilled to weave us into your beautiful family. I know I belong to you, and in your heart, I also belong to others. Amen.