By Pastor Todd Holman, St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City

Ephesians 2: 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. 1 7And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.

A common theme appearing in mainstream media describes our country as more divided now than ever before in history. While I disagree with this assessment, considering the civil war, it is clear there is strong division.  Unfortunately, whenever human beings take up residence in proximity with each other, there is always threat of division.  

Paul writes addressing the same issue taking place in the church. The above Scripture appeals to the division of Jews and Gentiles at Ephesus.  In each point of view both are unable to see shortcomings in themselves. The Jewish population were God’s covenant people. They stubbornly resisted God’s will and were spiritually arrogant. The gentile population perverted conscience and judgment and gave themselves over to sensuality and idolatry. In kind, many of us find it is easy to point out flaws in the other person, without the ability to see flaws in ourselves.

In Paul’s presentation of Christ, he makes no effort to choose sides. Instead he presents the solution; our answer is Christ. He encourages us to discard something old for something new. Our goal is to reach unity by example through Christ. This should not be confused with uniformity. Unity brings us together and recognizes the various gifts we bring to benefit one another. Our differences should be used to strengthen and preserve, not weaken and destroy. Division does not have to be, and is not supposed to be a solution for differences. Whether we find ourselves “far or near,” our viewpoints continue to hold great value, if we continue to seek peace and unity in humility of love and faith through Christ. And if Christians can demonstrate unity in love and peace despite our differences, I can only imagine the impact it will have on the rest of the world. 

Blessing through the joy and peace of Christ.