Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He 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.
Unless you are Jewish, you are Gentile–even if (as a male) you are circumcised. And as a Gentile, you were “separate,” “excluded,” and “foreigners.” But Gentile status has changed as a result of Jesus, who “destroyed the dividing wall” at the cross. Now, there is no longer Jew or Gentile, but a new humanity–a new creation.
It has often been observed that once an immigrant group has been accepted into the mainstream community, they become the most vocal opponents of letting others in. Sadly, this dynamic can also be seen within the Christian community. In the United States, Protestants have been the wall builders and gate keepers of faith, determining who is “included” in the kingdom and who is “excluded.” Sadly, we have failed to live into the new reconciled humanity God formed in Christ.
Today is Maundy Thursday
On this day, we eat a meal in commemoration of Jesus’ death–his broken body and his shed blood. We remember that through Jesus, though we are many, we are made one. We remember that we are the Body of Christ made up of diverse parts. So today, as you partake in the broken body and shed blood of Christ, pray for unity. Pray that any remaining dividing walls will be broken down. Pray that together in Christ we will experience the reality of reconciliation with God and peace with one another.