Today’s Reading: Ephesians 2:13-22
Daily Lectionary: Joshua 23:1-16; Acts 12:1-25

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You know how it feels to be the “outsider”—not invited to the party, not chosen for the team, not asked to the dance. You know how we build walls—boundaries that divide us into tribes, sub-cultures, the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”

In the Old Testament Scriptures, a wall separating the Israelite from the non-Israelite, God’s people from “the nations,” the circumcised from the uncircumcised. If you were an uncircumcised Gentile, you were an outsider, not chosen for God’s team, a foreigner to the people of God. That division was a picture of a yet deeper division: sin that divided us from God, and the Law that walled off the sinner from the holy God.

Christ came to break down dividing walls, demolish barriers, bring those far off near, and unite all of humanity under one Head. He preached peace to the Israelite and non-Israelite, the insider and the outsider, the religious and unreligious. Like the shape of His cross, Jesus’ peace is both vertical and horizontal. He reconciles humanity to God and humanity with itself.

You are no outsider or stranger to God. Baptized into Christ you are a citizen of God’s kingdom, a member of God’s household, a living stone of a holy, spiritual temple built upon the prophets and apostles with Christ the Cornerstone. You have access. The Law that walled off the sinner from God has been torn down by the blood of Jesus just as the curtain of the temple was ripped from top to bottom at Jesus’ death.

There may be times when you feel as though you are nothing in this world—alone, outcast, a stranger and foreigner. But in Christ, you are a saint, a citizen of heaven, a priest in Christ’s priesthood, a part of Christ’s Body, a member of God’s family. And in Christ, there are no walls to separate us ever again. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Gracious Father in heaven, remind us each day of who we are in your Son Jesus Christ, and make us instruments of His peace; through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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