“Our country is polarized with deep divisions. It will take a long time to restore unity.”
Alan Chartock- WAMC, Friday 10/30/2020
For he is our peace, in his flesh he has made both groups (Jews and Gentiles) into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
Wednesday October 28 morning reading from Forward Day By Day
There have been divisions among people going back to the Garden of Eden. Arguing, infighting, pushing, bullying have been a large part of the human story. The “he” referred to in Ephesians 2 is Jesus. We call ourselves a Christian country however as Christians we are directed by Jesus to lay down the hatchet, take off the gloves and acknowledge that we are all one in the United States. When we say the Pledge Of Allegiance,
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation under God, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.
In this statement, I am one of a big group made of different races, genders and creeds. We call ourselves a Christian country, however our actions speak louder than our faith. We are a nation in social turmoil and our population yells and screams at each other. I have known myself to share that behavior. In our political world today, Jesus would suffer the same death he did two thousand years ago. We human beings have not come very far.
Reading Ephesians this morning invited me to sit with it and think about what Paul is saying to the people of Ephesus. The peace offered by Jesus is a peace of joining diverse people into oneness, breaking down a dividing wall that has created an environment of hostility. Are we any different today?
What is my responsibility in this culture of hostility? Can I gather those of differing opinions around me and experience in the chaos of conflicting ideas and points of view an openness to peacefully sharing differing opinions and beliefs while in this time of COVID?
In our last election, 2016, America elected a President who sows seeds of violence, mistrust and hate. In response to him, I, like many other Americans on the other side of the wall, have rebelled against him and his administration. What good has that done? Where has it taken me?
As I think about Paul’s message to the Ephesians, I believe we Americans need a cultural dialogue. We need to listen and understand one another. Am I big enough to enter into that process? Can Americans lay down their hatchets and talk with each other in a civil manor? Paul tackles a hard problem with the church in Ephesus. We are living in a divided, angry country that now has COVID. We wear masks to protect ourselves and each other. The mask wearing is teaching us to smile with our eyes, speak with muted voices and touch. Living a life of isolation and social distancing, how do we take down the wall of differing opinions?
These are the questions that bubbled up in me this morning after reading Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Ephesus. I believe God is calling me, and all of us, to live a better life. Jesus said, “The first commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” Realistic? I will certainly will try to do my part. Only time will tell about the rest of humanity.