I'm getting excited to preach through the letter of Ephesians at Hill City Church this summer! No matter how many times I read through Ephesians, the end of chapter 2 always sticks out.
Paul helped plant the church in Ephesus (see Acts 19). He knew the tension between Christians who were formerly Jews and those who converted from a pagan background. The reality is that becoming one cohesive group takes more than simply attending the same gathering or believing the same theology. Community takes hard work. The symbol Paul uses is still helpful for us today. It's a metaphor about walls.
Walls of Hostility
The bad wall we often experience is called a wall of hostility. These walls divide us. They cause us to focus on our differences instead of our commonality. We get angry when someone doesn't think or act the way we want them to. We might be triggered by superficial disagreements even though we have the same foundation in Christ. We may even see people as obstacles instead of image-bearers of God. Jesus came to tear down walls of hostility.
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. - Ephesians 2:13-14
Walls of a Household
Walls aren't always a negative thing. We all benefit from the walls that hold up our houses. Construction comes after demolition. When Jesus builds His church, He doesn't use wood or brick. He makes it out of you and me.
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. - Ephesians 2:19-22
Which kind of wall do you want to be? Hostility or household? I can't help but think about the time in which we live. The world seems more polarized and divided than ever. In this season, God is calling His people to be a light in the dark. We do this by building our lives on the foundation of Jesus and building community with other believers.
My challenge for you today is to look for ways to create unity instead of division. It's actually much easier than we think. It begins by simply spending time with people we don't have much in common with. When we do this, we'll begin to see people for who they really are. We will learn to listen instead of argue. Over time, we can grow to be the peacemakers that Jesus called us to be.
What helps you feel connected to other people? How have you managed to still build relationships over this past year? Let me know in the comments below!