And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.

Ephesians 2: 17

We live in a world that seems to understand distance a lot better than it does intimacy. Some of our strongest cultural aspirations involve striving for total independence, gaining control of our own destiny, and becoming strong individuals. Although there is value to be found in the self development that is involved in this process, and each person should set goals to pursue, too many of us also make ourselves the central focus of this effort and lose sight of the importance of caring for and of serving our community, and we move away from Christ and His central role in making real strength possible.

The sort of strength that can withstand the forces that come at us in life is not found individually, and although people seek after security and economic advantage through national treaties and alliances, these are doomed to the failure that mistrust and self-interest create. Christ provides us with the only effective answer to all of the need for community that we have, for He works in the depths of our souls to transformatively change us. This newness that Christ brings about is neither temporal so that its solely external quality is readily washed away by the tides of fortune, nor is it temporary so that it can be set aside when the current situation becomes less comfortable. Christ changes us into beings who are more like Him, and He desires to bring people into the committed relational unity of His body.

 When we are not at peace with others in the body of Christ, we need to seek the Lord’s wisdom, understanding, and insight into the causes for the distance; then, we should seek to move together to resolve the differences. As long as we are staying close to Christ and are following His will, there is no room for discord in His family. This doesn’t mean that we will all agree on everything, for we are created to think and to hold our positions passionately, but it does mean that we need to be able to love and to care for and about each other absolutely regardless of these differences. Christ takes each of us from where we have been in life, and He moves us together, and the rallying point for that coming together is Christ, Himself.

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