On Sunday at St. Mark’s we spoke about ‘walls’, and the many ways that we build divisions between ourselves, based on our fears and the things that we want. Paul reminded us in Ephesians 2 that Jesus came to break down the dividing walls of hostility between us, uniting us through faith in him and through experiencing the Holy Spirit. Our prayer of confession before communion encouraged us to reflect on the ways that we participate in the violence and conflict in the world, either through being perpetrators ourselves, through benefitting from the ways others are oppressed, through ignoring or allowing violence to be done to others, or by being trapped in hurt and bitterness over the way we have been treated.
This reality reminds us that ‘sin’ is not fundamentally about breaking rules or doing bad things, but about a state of broken ‘communion’ between us. It is about relationships that are not the way they should be. The way that Jesus broke down the walls between Jews and Gentiles in his own day was by allowing them both to access the forgiveness and grace of God, and to experience healing. What the world needs from the Church is to see people who understand for themselves what forgiveness means, and who are learning to live it out in our own lives. This is a very confronting challenge that requires a lot of grace, wisdom and reliance on God.