Tearing down the walls
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility …
- from Ephesians 2:14
The biggest, baddest, most brutal walls in the world are the walls that stand between groups of people who hate each other. They may be 100 feet high and lined with razor wire or completely invisible. But the impact is the same.
Neighbors will keep a long, cold silence on either side of a wall between their homes … the fruit of a feud long-forgotten. Ethnic communities will pile up walls of fear-creating words to protect themselves from threat and loss. You can see this same pattern repeated in families, between political rivals, and even in churches.
In today’s passage, Paul joyfully celebrates Jesus the peace-maker who blows the barriers that divide humanity into itty-bitty smithereens. His peace replaces the hostility. His inclusivity overwhelms all division. His very life makes it possible for us to stop propping up the prison walls.
We emerge from behind our barriers blinking in the sunlight. The rubble crunches beneath our feet as we join hands with those whom we’ve hated and feared. What we never thought possible has happened.
A glance at all of the painful ethnic, political, and relational divisions can drain us of all hope. But our hope is in Christ. If he can rise from the dead, he can resurrect dead relationships. If he can break free from the prison of the grave, he can liberate us from our deepest held biases. If he can stand alive on the mountain top, he can bring us there with him.
Which barriers would you most like to see Jesus tear down?