“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
These verses conclude a truly glorious passage which is focussed on our unity in Christ. It’s worth reading the whole paragraph (2:11-22). The previous wall of division between Jew and Gentile has been broken down by the Christ who offered life with God by faith and not law. We are reconciled to God as one body through the cross and not by slavish obedience to rules.
It is inevitable that whenever I read a passage such as this, with the focus on our unity in Christ, that I recall the first meeting I attended at the Keswick Convention in 1956. Displayed across the front of the 7,000 seater marquee was a banner which boldly proclaimed, “ALL ON IN CHRIST JESUS”. Ever since those formative years of my Christian Pilgrimage the unity of the people of God has been a passion.
During this coming week we will of course be marking the conclusion of the horrendous years of conflict we know as the Second World War. In Jersey we will celebrate Liberation from the German Occupation and the renewed experience of freedom that resulted. Perhaps this celebration will be somewhat muted because of the current restrictions, but it may help us to be more reflective and consider what it means to be free.
For me the memories are different, more to do with the sight of London ablaze on the horizon during the blitz, exploding doodlebugs, an absent father for six years, but as with Jersey there was unbridled celebration on VE Day. I remember the bonfires on the estate, the fences torn down for fuel and the unbridled joyful exuberance.
Freedom is so important, but is always the beginning of something new. By grace I have been set free, but free to follow Christ, free to live his life, free to become increasingly a part of that united community called the Body of Christ and free with others to truly become corporately all one in Christ Jesus. (RS)