One of my strongest school years’ memories was the sudden excitement that swept through us when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. We had a special time in class to go and watch the news broadcasts that showed it happening. The relief and hope that came from the end of this longstanding division and conflict was felt around the world.
Our current series at St. Mark’s on ‘Being the Church’, looking at the letter to the Ephesians, is centred around the idea of division. In this letter Paul talks about the many ways that, through Jesus, God is healing the divisions in the world and bringing unity. This obviously addresses ongoing problems that we experience today, as we are being constantly made aware of the deep and painful divisions in the world that cause so much pain and suffering. Throughout Ephesians Paul leads us through the way in which Christ brings healing to the divisions between different cultures, between economic classes, and within personal relationships. Most fundamentally Jesus heals the division between God and humanity, which is what we are considering this Sunday.
The upshot of this is that the mission of the church is a mission of reconciliation, which starts with our own personal transformation and moves outward to healing for our communities and our world. There are many great challenges to come to grips with as we consider our part in this mission.