This week’s Revised Common Lectionary readings are timely. In Ephesians 2, Paul teaches that Jesus has erased divisions between people, and created a single, united humanity. Groups that were previously at odds have been reconciled. Peace reigns. Together, all people build a community that becomes the household of God, a place where the divine can interact with all of humanity.
This vision is certainly encouraging in a society that seems to be ever more divided. When world leaders are confused as to who is friend and who is foe, such a united humanity seems like a far-off dream. The lesson from Ephesians gives us hope for a better world, and perhaps can serve as inspiration to help bring that world about. Consider whether there are ways that your community can work toward the vision of unity and reconciliation, and encourage your worshipers to be involved!
Both Hebrew Bible readings address the issue of God’s people having a place of their own. 2 Samuel 7:10-11 promises that the people will have a home, and rest from their enemies – this home is more important than building a Temple as home for God. Jeremiah 23:2-3 condemns those who have separated God’s people, and promises that they will be reunited. These verses are particularly poignant as we remain in the midst of the largest refugee crisis in world history, and many of our communities are discussing ways to respond to migrants and folks seeking asylum.
Keeping up with all the political and social causes of the day could keep us so busy that we don’t even have time to eat! When that happens, Jesus calls us to retreat and be refreshed. Even if the time of relaxation only lasts as long as the commute, as seemed to be the case for Jesus and the disciples, it is worth taking some intentional time for self-care.
What themes stand out to you from this week’s readings? What message is relevant to your community? Please share your ideas and questions in the comments. Blessings in your preparation for worship this week!
Katya Ouchakof is an ELCA pastor in Madison, WI. Her garden is currently producing zucchini, green beans, carrots and lettuce, and she’s open to suggestions on what to plant next year. Katya blogs occasionally at Provocative Proclamations.
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