Peace Is Possible
Carman Thompson of Drumbo, Ontario, Canada
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. -Ephesians 2:14-16
The author of the letter to the Ephesians offers that through the cross Christ has brought about reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Clearly the statement, “He is our peace,” applies equally to the people formerly on both sides of this divide. In their book, Exploring the New Testament, scholars Carmody, Carmody, and Robbins suggest that the author makes peace central in this passage because he may have inherited generations’ worth of disputes between Jewish and Gentile Christians (Prentice Hall, 1986).
Theologian Luke Johnson adds additional light to the image of the dividing wall. He says it refers to the wall dividing the court of the Gentiles from the Holy Place in the Jerusalem Temple. A sign on the wall threatened death to any Gentiles who entered. Similarly, the law of Torah was a barrier that separated and divided the two groups. Human hostility had misused the gifts of God as signs of God’s favor of one group over the other. Now Christ had brought peace.
In the latter part of the 20th century, the Troubles in Northern Ireland were in full swing as Catholic and Protestant fought each other. The conflict dragged on for some thirty years. In Canada, the bombings and shootings were a constant part of the news. Having Irish heritage, I could not help but be interested, though I often despaired. Tensions ran so deep and suspicion so strong that I could not imagine how this conflict would ever end.
Though tensions and suspicions remain, the fighting finally stopped in Northern Ireland. For my part, I learned never to give up hope for peace. If peace is possible between Jewish and Gentile Christians, and between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, then peace is possible between Jews and Palestinians today. Peace is possible between Muslims and Christians. Peace is possible in our neighborhoods.
Peace is possible. Pray for peace. Oh, pray for peace!
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Spend a few moments paying attention, wherever you are. Notice your surroundings. What draws your focus? Look more closely at detail and color. Notice what pulls or prods within you. How is the God-in-all-things speaking to you through what you see and feel right here, right now?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.