Ephesians 2:11-22 (NRSV)
Verse 11So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called "the uncircumcision" by those who are called "the circumcision" -a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands- Verse 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Verse 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Verse 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. Verse 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, Verse 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. Verse 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; Verse 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. Verse 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, Verse 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. Verse 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; Verse 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
The letter to the Ephesians, often attributed to the Apostle Paul, also addresses the idea of gathering the people of God. Today’s reading speaks of reconciling the divisions between Jews and Gentiles through the Cross of Christ. We are reminded that we are “citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone”(verses 19-20). We are even identified as being “built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God” (verse 22). Not only do we dwell with God, God dwells in us. Our responsibility is to provide a place that attracts others so they too may know the indwelling of God. Knowing that we are hosts of the Divine may enable us to befriend those who once were identified as enemies.
Dear God of Inclusion, help us to see and listen with the openness you model for us. Take us out of ourselves in order to enjoy those with whom we disagree. Amen.