By Karen Gee-McAuley and Grace McAuley
Oneness and Peace in Christ:
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
These passages seem especially disconnected to the realities of2017 in light of the latest Syrian crisis involving chemical warfare on civilians followed by the U.S. bombing of the Syrian government airfield where the chemical attack was reportedly launched.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written when he was imprisoned in Rome and was meant as a grand vision for the Christian church. But we can’t help but want to scream that thisvision is far from becoming reality with the number of civil wars, terrorism and prolific suffering taking place in our own backyard and around the world.
How could Christ allow so much strife, unrest and death take place? Why can’t the walls of hostility be broken by “ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations?” It’s as if today’s oppression is so complicated, extreme, cruel, inhumane and widespread that Paul’s teachings are too simplistic and, frankly, unrealistic.
Rational thinking can only surmise that until the forces of evil are destroyed, only then will there be peace on earth and freedom for the oppressed.
God isn’t simple. He knows all, everything and everyone. It is by his grace that when humanity suffers we realize we can’t do this alone, that we need to lean on him more now than ever. This is what makes suffering almost too difficult to bear, but also special in that by trusting Him, he brings us closer, more united and “together as one body.”
But how can you, I, our community so far away contribute to eradicating the forces of evil, which, in turn, will help and free the oppressed? Can it be done? As one drop of water does not feed a plant, but 100 drops will, the same can be said of the power of people and prayer. Whether we pray individually and as a congregation, donate resources and supplies to humanitarian organizations or using your skills in medicine, social work or education to augment an organized effort, the more “good” that is directed toward the oppressed will, we believe, eventually make these psalms reality.
By living in and with Christ, and reminding ourselves every day what he sacrificed for us, we can begin to tame the hostility that exists today.