Week beginning: 29th May, 2016
By Timothy Laurence | London
"For he himself is our peace, who has made [Jew and Gentile] both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace..."Ephesians 2:14-15 (ESV)
"Walls and peace": the real story of international reconciliation
Physical walls and fences recur in international politics - building them against migrants, or bringing them down for unification. Legal systems and treaties too can either unify peoples together, or, as they benefit some peoples more than others, foster hostility and calls for independence.
But the Christian lawyer remembers how limited these rearrangements really are. The New Testament takes for granted that all international political activity had been ultimately futile for thousands of years – "separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (2:12). Endless strife, treaty, and boundary changes were never able to heal hearts and minds regardless of which sides of the various walls we were on.
But Christ's coming internationalised the unique hope of old Israel's political commonwealth. The death of the Jews' Messiah thereby killed their ethnic privilege over Gentiles, and his physical resurrection in an upgraded and glorified human body trumped ethnicity and changed everything. As a second Adam offering his life-giving Spirit to all, he now offers universal and direct membership of one new race, in place of many.
Praise God that we have joined the Prince of Peace in his work of international reconciliation. But there's room for more to join him, and this is the great political hope of the world.
1) As political conversation continues to dominate, let's pray we'll not only keep our own hopes in the right place, but take the opportunity to speak naturally and boldly to colleagues of the real story of hope and international peace.
2) Remember LCF student members as they come into the exam season. Pray that they will be aware of God's peace and strength, and that they find time to focus on Him amongst the exam angst.