January 14, 2023

Diversity Together

Ephesians 2:11-22

Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

—  Ephesians 2:18 (NLT)

Over the past 12 years while I have been a pastor in a newly planted church, one story I have heard again and again has come from new members. People who did not grow up in a church or who were rejected or bullied by church people in the past shared that as they were invited into our space, it was the first time they felt they belonged and were not judged. They learned that there was a place for them. It was the reason they stayed.

I wonder how it felt for Gentiles, who had long been treated as outsiders, to be invited into God’s story of good news for all peoples. Paul reminds them in Ephesians that they are vital members of God’s family. God’s story of reconciliation is amazing. Jesus’ death on the cross for all sinners has broken down the hostility between all peoples. We are all equal at the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross gave us one body, not many. It is the place where we lay down our differences and pick up God’s grace.

Too often in the church we have divided over what is comfortable for us rather than what God offers. Today is a good day to meet your neighbor or anyone who needs to know that the good-news story includes them.

God, thank you that we are no longer strangers but part of your family. Help us to be your one body together and to let the world know by our love for one another that we are connected to you. Amen.

About the author — Beth Fellinger

Pastor Beth Fellinger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has more than 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Barry, have created a missional community in their neighborhood called the Ugly Couch Cafe. From serving coffee at a blue picnic table on their front lawn, to praying with neighbors, to hosting faith gatherings on a weekly basis, the Ugly Couch Cafe has grown—and nothing gives Beth greater joy than introducing people to Jesus.

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