June 5 Devotional

Hello All! Pastor Jeff took a slight detour this week to address a contemporary issue looking at Ephesians 2:11-22:
 
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated 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 himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
 
With all the unrest and dissent taking place in our country we see some pretty big divides! This passage reminds us that racism is a sin, and is still an issue today just like it was an issue during the time the New Testament was being written. This passage reminds us that we as Christians have the only method of adequately bringing about reconciliation. Notice that Paul here says that Jesus “himself is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” The only way there can be lasting peace is through reconciling the vertical relationship: between humans and God. So often we focus on the horizontal relationships (with each other) instead of looking to the primary cause of every issue the afflicts humanity: sin between the creation and the Creator. 
 
We as Christians are the only people who can bring about lasting change. I love the word “reconciliation,” and Paul picks up that theme again in 2 Corinthians 5 where he writes, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Notice the vertical connection before we get to the horizontal connection. We must be reconciled to Christ before we can go about making reconciliation with the world around us. 
 
Throughout this discussion it’s important to remember that this is not a political issue, this is an issue rooted in the fact that we were created in the image of God, and as image bearers we must do whatever we can to support and honor fellow image bearers. To that end, the EFCA has written a couple helpful articles. The first is from our President, Kevin Kompelein titled ‘Once Again, Racism Necessitates a Response’ and my dad also wrote a helpful prayer of lament that I used for our prayer time during the service this week. I’d also encourage you to spend some time praying for our black brothers and sisters who regularly experience a different life than what many of us do. 
 
SONG:
A helpful article I came across today also contains a playlist of songs. The article is titled ‘Making Peace: A Lament for Justice’ and you can listen to the Spotify playlist HERE.
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