[Christ Jesus] came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:17–22)
Many years ago I was transplanted to my husband’s country, the UK. All of the sudden I felt helpless, disorientated, and like a little child. Even going to the post office was a trial, as I tried to remember which were the correct words or how much money the coins denoted. I was a foreigner and a stranger, and didn’t feel that I belonged. But two women who had experience of both countries befriended me, assisting me in the process of assimilation. They were God’s agents, preaching peace and helping me to look outside of my culture shock to God’s greater purposes.
Paul in his letter also acts as an agent of change and peace. He moves from his emphasis on individual salvation, as we saw last week, to the divisions that had existed between Jewish believers and the new converts, the Gentiles. Whereas alienation once reigned, now Christ had smashed the dividing wall of hostility, ushering in unity and peace. Those who were warring with each other now could have enriching relations.
Through Christ we also have access to the Father through the Spirit, and therefore we are citizens and members of his household. No longer are we foreigners or strangers, for now we belong to the household of God. We know that he welcomes us and will hear us.
Christ has dismantled the wall of division, and he also has become the chief cornerstone of the building that is the people of God. Through him we too are part of this dwelling, interconnected and dependent on him and those around us. How can you be an agent of peace this day?
Prayer: Lord, we celebrate your ascension, rejoicing that you have not left us, but live in and through us. Dwell in us, we pray.