Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-19
I deem it a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to our Lenten Booklet this year. My assigned reading is from Paul’s letter to the
Ephesians, Chapter 2, verses 7 to 19. The chapter is titled From Death to Life.
To better understand it, I found it necessary to research some of the background context leading up to it. I also want to say that I found this
reading very timely because, for me, it sheds light on one of the issues with which we have been struggling for some time now—the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East.
Paul is addressing this letter to “the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful to Christ” who have been the first people graced by God as they
have placed their hope in God’s mystery and God’s wisdom and insight through Jesus. God has given them an inheritance with the promise and pledge of the Holy Spirit.
In Chapter 2, he tells them that before they believed, they were sinful “like all the others, following the passions and desires of the flesh.” Because of the fact that they were not circumcised and were Gentiles by birth, they were separated, at that time, from those who were circumcised (Israel). They did not know Jesus and the promise of God’s hope and love in the world. They were described by Paul as “dead.”
Now that they know Jesus and the promise of God, they are made “alive” with Jesus so that, in time, it will be proven to them what a gift they have been given. Paul reminds them that this was not anything of their doing, but was a gift from God.
Paul goes on to tell them that Jesus is our peace and that he broke down the dividing wall and the hostility between the two groups. He abolished the legality of the commandments so that he could create a new humanity, a humanity built on peace and reconciliation and access to one God.
The message for me in dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian issue is clear. Our mission, as followers of Jesus, believing in God’s love for all the world and also God’s gift of grace for all the world, is to work for peace, with justice, between the Israelis and Palestinians, knowing that God is on our side.
By Doreen Orman
O God, the path to peace in our world is so elusive and complex. And, yet, because of your love and grace for all the world, we are called to work for peace, holding forth your light of reconciliation and hope. AMEN