But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
My entire theology (study of God) and philosophy of life revolves around the fact that community is necessary and we belong to each other. That perspective alone navigates how I live each moment. It also navigates how I see God in the world. In order to see God, I must be in community and recognize that God takes on human flesh to be in community with us. This is why Jesus is so dang important to me….God in human form, love in human form who continues to love on other humans. There are no outsiders or insiders…the rules shift by the community as long as we care for each other. This is what the Ephesians passage is about. Before the church in Ephesus came together, there were Jews and non Jews. There were insiders and outsiders. There were lots of rules around what to eat and how to dress and how to live. But then these letters appear to the church that say, wait a minute. We have to realize something. God is in the people. Jesus came and those boundaries disappeared. Instead, we have to take of each other.
We belong to each other. You belong here with us.
Here’s the issue…it is not what culture is telling us.