For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.

Ephesians 2: 14

 

Just to be clear, Paul is talking about Christ as the one who causes and is peace for us, and those who were divided are Jews and gentiles. Although Paul was looking at his Greek and Roman region when he speaks about gentiles, I believe that he knew that Christ’s work of reconciliation was effective among peoples from all across the world. In Christ we are all either a part of the family of God’s chosen people or we are not; so, in the sense that is being discussed, we are all either Jews or gentiles. Nothing in our earthly make-up can change that. Our DNA, nationality, language, and history are of no significance in determining our relationship to God and so, in light of knowing Christ, to one another.

 

Still, peace is a really big thing to consider. To be at peace means that I am settled, not engaged in conflict, resolved and actively in relationship with others. All of this applies to God and me and our relationship, and it speaks to how I view the world around me and myself, too. This sort of deep, internal peace in people is the way that God designed our world to be. We lived day-by-day in harmonious and close interaction with our Creator and with each other. All of the strife, anger, and hostility that exist in our world are the result of the brokenness, the separation, that sin has caused to exist between people and God and between us. When we rebelled against God, we began to construct walls of division, and that massive building project continues unchecked to this day.

 

Christ is the only answer that exists to this human drive toward conflict and its attendant pain. In Christ and through the work of His Spirit in us we are restored toward God’s original design of hearts and souls that are truly at peace. It is the peace of Christ that opens us up to understanding people who are different from us and to entering into the risky environment of relationship with them. This same peace permits us to live in an unsettled world, for it takes us deeply into trusting the Lord for the care, provision, and security that we require in order to walk confidently through each of our days. The peace that Christ brings to my heart leads me to see others as He does, and that same peace leads me toward others with the desire to share its blessing with each of them.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2: 6, 7

 

There is this rather crazy idea that followers of Christ should be continually living in a state of blessedness that leads us to be thankful for it all and to express that thanksgiving to God and to the world around us in the midst of and despite of our circumstances. Although this is not easy to do, the idea of dwelling in a state of thanksgiving is something that God does make possible for His people. Through Christ and His indwelling Spirit, the perspective that we view our world with is changed from its foundations upward.

 

There is no place that we can travel where the Lord is not with us. Although we may turn onto the darkest of streets, the presence of the light of truth and the protection of the Lord are there to guide and to guard our steps. This world and its culture can be harsh and dangerous, but regardless of appearances, Christ rules over it all. So, if He is Lord of my life, then He takes precedence and holds authority over the powers and the influences that would attempt to distract, discourage, and defeat my intent and desire to enter fully into Christ’s calling for my life.

 

Therefore, thanksgiving is a fully worthy expression of worship for this and for every day. This is entered into in words of praise and recognition of God’s great love and perfect truth. Yet, even more so, it is poured out upon the altar of life as a fragrant and worthy sacrifice of praise by virtue of the way that we engage with others and with our world in a manner that brings the truth and the peace of Christ to all that we do and to every encounter along the way. Jesus walked with His feet firmly rooted in the will of the Father. So too, we who are in Christ Jesus our Lord can follow Him in this journey in which all is committed to bringing about reconciliation to God through relationship with Christ. As this is so in my life, I am thankfully dwelling in Christ’s land of blessing.