Ephesians 2=Christ is our Peace!
Bible Background: Chapter 2 is deep on meaning and long on words again! Verse 8 is a key one for Lutheran theology: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is a gift of God!” Verses 11-22 really focus on how Christ makes us acceptable to God, and breaks down the walls dividing people from each other.
Digging Deeper: 1. Here are some key statements in today’s reading. Let them stir your imagination and faith again!
+”Christ is our peace!” This is more than “I have Jesus in my heart, and that brings me inner peace.” This is a claim about how Christ bridges the gaps between persons and groups and races and nations. How does that truth shape our view of the world? Of other people, including ‘strangers’ and even enemies?
+”Christ is our peace” is also a subversive political statement! The Roman empire (with it’s Emperor worshipped as a “god”), claimed to be the maker/keeper of world peace. The “Pax Romana” was in effect in the time period this letter was written. It was an improvement over warring times, but it was still a forced peace-under threat of military intervention or crucifixion. To claim that “Christ is our peace” was a direct affront to the power and worship of the emperor!
+Notice key words here: “No longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God!” Think of all the people whom someone says “they don’t belong here!” Some are refugees. Some are asylum seekers or immigrants. Some identify as a gender we don’t understand or aren’t familiar with. Sometimes it’s simply a person on the other side of the political spectrum! The message of Ephesians 2 offers an alternative view of humanity, and how God-in Christ-makes welcome and unity possible. Will we dare to embrace it?
+”Household of God” This is one description of the Church-the family/household of God! In a household there is welcome! In a household, there are people bound together by loving relationships. (Honestly, we know that a household can have some dysfunction, too!) This household is built upon the foundation of the saints and apostles. That’s news that can keep us grounded and can encourage us. How do we actually make it so ‘all are welcome in this place?’
2. The picture in Ephesians 2 celebrates unity in the midst of diversity. This was huge in Paul’s day. This is hugely important in our day. God has made people in all shapes, sizes, colors, and preferences. And there are all sorts of things that can divide us. Christ is willing and able to unite us…provided we are willing to both respect and put less emphasis on our differences! Once more, we can hear echoing through Ephesians that Christ is God’s gift for all people and for all creation!