He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:17-22, NLT
Immigrants and Refugees
Something that's been on our minds a lot recently and in the news even more is refugees and immigrants. We talk about illegal immigrants, keeping them out or letting them in, legal immigrants and helping them stay in our country and then refugees and how much time is appropriate to spend making them wait to get to safety while vetting them.
Something that an immigrant and refugee has in common is they are a stranger and a foreigner in someone else's country. That's a feeling that most of us really don't appreciate. Sure, many of us have traveled to another country before, or gone on a cruise, but we've never had to leave our country because of poverty, our lives, or the safety of our families.
The Jews were Refugees
This was a feeling that the Jewish people knew well, and still know today. When I was in seminary, I took a course on other religions. In that course, we watched a series of videos that took us into a Hasidism Jewish community in Europe. What stroke me about one of the videos was a man who was a butcher. He was from a long line of butchers.
He said that his father told him (I'm paraphrasing), "We're butchers, because in the case that we become displaced again and have to leave this place, we will know that we will always be able to feed our families in the ways that God calls us according to our laws. It's not a glorious job, but it's honorable."
It struck me because it's been so long since the Jews were persecuted in a way that they had to leave their homes, yet they still carried this with them generation after generation. This is something that we, as American Christians, will never understand.
Equal in God's eyes
The first century Gentiles were often treated as second class Christians by the Jewish Christians, so Paul writes that we are all equal in God's eyes. This Sunday we will be looking more into the idea of what it means to be a Citizen of Heaven and be a part of God's family and household.
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Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.