Practice Resurrection (3)

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate once remarked on the way we (mis)handle the Gospel.  He writes:  ‘When the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy.  When the Romans got it they turned it into a government.  When the Europeans got it they turned it into a culture.  And when the Americans got it they turned it into a business.’   

The old hymn says it well:  ‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea…But we make God’s love too narrow by false limits of our own, and we magnify its strictness with a zeal God will not own.’    

Martin Niemoller, the German pastor imprisoned by Hitler had time to think about the fences we put up between ourselves (in the right of course) and all the others.  Surviving the war, he wrote, ‘It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies.  God is not even the enemy of God’s enemies.’

Ephesians 2.14-18:   14For 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. 15He 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, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Questions to ponder:

1      How does this text counter the individualism so evident in church life these days?

2      Paul writes that ‘Jesus is our peace.’  Where have you seen that peace in your life?  in the congregation’s life?

3      What walls do you think need knocking down in our time?