Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Ephesians 2:11-22 (NRSV)
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.
Ever wonder where God hangs out? Who does God grab lunch with after church on Sunday? Who does God go out with on a Friday night? The Lectionary readings for today all talk about where God resides. In 2 Samuel 7, we hear that God’s spot is not, believe it or not, determined by the architecture of your church building or the size of your family life center. God doesn’t decide who to spend time with by the car you drive or the house you have. In Psalm 23, God is hanging out with the folks who are in a bad place “the darkest valley.” In Jeremiah 23, God is with the remnant—the folks who have been pushed out of their land…refugees trying to return home. Throughout all of our readings today, God is not stagnant. God is out there, out on the town. God, the Shepherd, is with God’s people. And, who are God’s people, you ask?
The passage from Ephesians above and much of scripture tells us it’s the folks we often don’t want to have much to do with—the stranger, the outcast, the alien, the refugee. And, it’s only when we all come together, are made one, see one another not as Gentile and Jew, not as American and Mexican, or Honduran, or Salvadoran, or Guatemalan, not as Christian and criminal, but as brothers and sisters in the household of God, that God comes near, that God dwells with us.
Recently, the 188th General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church joined “with the chorus of other denominations denouncing the abhorrent treatment of those attempting to apply for asylum or enter into the United States from our southern border, particularly the practice of dividing children from their parents, contributing to terror, uncertainty and unnecessary cruel suffering to families of God’s beloved.” You can bet that God is here.
Brothers and Sisters, no matter what side of the border you were born on, let us pray together: Eternal Peacemaker, give us eyes to see our family to the right and left of us, literally and politically, at work, at home, at church, and on the other side of the world. Help us share the great and abounding love and peace you give to your children. Give us grace. Give us mercy, and help us to be merciful. Give us peace that we may begin to live in your coming Kingdom. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.