When I worked as a carpenter remodeling older homes, I was sometimes part of the demolition crew. As the name suggests, this involved tearing things down, breaking through old walls which were sometimes permeated with years of coal dust, and removing ancient two-by-fours. The work was often messy and occasionally even dangerous. Still, I must confess that swinging a sledge hammer had its appeal. It could be wonderfully satisfying to knock things down! Tearing down old walls was selective, of course. Our crew didn’t want to bring the whole house down—just remodel it. It was wonderful to be involved in rebuilding as the project moved along, to trade in a sledge hammer for a finish hammer, to create new rooms in which a family could live, love, and grow.
While the scripture from Ephesians begins with the breaking down of a wall, it goes on to celebrate new construction. There is now peace and reconciliation between those who once were separated and regarded one another with hostility. The writer rejoices in the building of a new Temple, an inclusive household. Continuing to employ the imagery of architecture, Ephesians describes the apostles and prophets as the foundation of a new Temple with Christ as its cornerstone. Gentiles and Jews alike are joined together like so many building blocks, fashioned into one structure by Christ himself, the artisan as well as the cornerstone of this new dwelling place for God.
In our own time clearly there are walls of hostility which need to come down. There are other walls which need to be maintained. And there are new walls to be erected—walls which protect human dignity and give sanctuary, walls which give structure and continuity to life and love, to faith and community.
O gracious Architect, help us to discern the work you need done on any given day and our part in it! Amen.
David was God’s anointed king over Israel. He believed God desired a house, a temple worthy of God. But God wanted David to understand that only God can build things that truly last. Thus, God promised to construct a dynasty from David’s family. From this line will eventually come the ultimate King, the Messiah, who will rule God’s people forever. The Messiah will complete God’s work of uniting all people as children of God, and the author of Ephesians declares that this has happened through Christ. All God’s people—Jew and Gentile—are now part of a holy, spiritual temple. In Mark, Jesus shows that part of being a great king is showing compassion. He puts aside his own desires to help those in need of guidance and healing.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. When have you changed your opinion on something significant? What led to the change?
Read Psalm 89:20-37. What helps you recall God’s faithfulness in times when you may feel abandoned?
Read Ephesians 2:11-22. Where have you found Christ breaking down dividing walls between groups of people? What part does your Christian community play in bringing people together?
Read Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. When have you had an experience of illness or accident that left you isolated from community? How did that increase your awareness of others in that situation as you moved to health?
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