Brought near

A postcard from the 8th Sunday after Pentecost 07/18/21

We are reconciled now.

The mission of the church, according to the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” All the members of the Church are to pursue this mission through our prayers and worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and the promotion of justice, peace, and love.

Many in The Episcopal Church are far removed from the existential alienation of being an immigrant or a foreigner. For many of us, we share the church pews with people that are like us. In recent years, many in The Episcopal Church have experienced social alienation in their families, communities, and churches. There seems to be no end to the factors and beliefs that can divide us.

When we hear the words from the catechism about reconciliation, we typically think of people not in our pews and that don’t look like us. It is easier that way. It is easier to limit reconciliation to people that you don’t see that often.

Our reading for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost [Ephesians 2:11-22] reminds us that we Gentiles were aliens, but were brought near to God’s people through Jesus. It is through Jesus that divisions were torn down. The unity that the writer of Ephesians talks about is not some future event. It is the present reality that we are “no longer strangers and aliens, but [we] are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”

It remains our reality.

In Jesus, we are joined together and Christ is our peace. Our work of reconciliation does not begin from opposite sides and it is not us that is doing the work. It is through the cross of Jesus that we are made one new humanity and brought near. Our work is a matter of turning around to face each other and the reality of our reconciliation.

This weekend was the start of two weeks of vacation, so I had a change of scenery for Sunday morning. I rode the 10 mile Tour de Cahaba 2021. Since I am on vacation, there is no recorded sermon this week. I will be back in church on Sunday, August 1 at St. Barnabas in Roanoke.

Coming next

We continue our exploration of the Letter to the Ephesians. What does it look like to live rooted in reconciliation with God and neighbor? How do we practice it in radical ways?

  • July 25 – Off the road / “God’s Powerful Love” Eph. 3:14-21
  • August 1 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke / “Bound Together” Eph. 4:1-16
  • August 8 – Messiah, Heflin / “Making Peace” Eph. 4:25 – 5:2
  • August 15 – Messiah Heflin / “Overflow” Eph. 5:15-20
  • August 22 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro / “Teamwear” Eph. 6:10-20

Published by akhudlow

I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. I am a church nerd, printmaker, storyteller, and blogger.

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