Good Fences?

There is a well-known poem by Robert Frost called ‘Mending Wall’, about the experience of working with the farmer on the property next door to him on rebuilding the parts of the wall between their properties that have fallen down over the last season. His reflection is that while there are places where it makes sense to have a wall to keep out pests, in other places the wall serves no purpose. His neighbour however, merely repeats the saying handed down from his father – ‘Good fences make good neighbours’.

This week in our series ‘Being the Church’ we are looking at Ephesians 2:11-22, where Paul talks about how Jesus has brought reconciliation between the Jewish and Gentile people who believe in him – he has ‘destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ between these two groups by allowing them to find unity through his Spirit. This will invite us to reflect on the purpose of the church as an agent of reconciliation in the world.

All of us live with various ‘walls’ in our lives. Some may be good boundaries to prevent us from getting hurt. But others may be just ways of suspicion and hostility that we have learnt from our experiences or our culture, and which God might invite us to be breaking down through grace and forgiveness. Frost starts his poem with the line ‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall’. There is a force that slowly breaks them down while we are away, and while on his farm he thinks it might be the ‘Elves’, God obviously doesn’t love a wall either.