As we continued our series, “Coordinates, I began my message with these words: “we live in a walled world. These walls can be physical and visible; they may unseen and spiritual. Nonetheless, walls can divide, separate and isolate.”
The good news is that Jesus came to tear down walls and through his life, death and resurrection the walls between God and humanity, humanity and humanity, and humanity and the creation have been removed. And followers of Jesus are called to join with God in the work of tearing down the walls that divide.
I love the way Eugene Peterson captures the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:14-22:
14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.
19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
We closed our gathering with a beautiful song from Stefan Van Voorst called “Instruments of Peace.” Based upon the beloved prayer of St Francis, Van Voorst created a powerful chorus by placing the Arabic and Hebrews words for peace, side by side: “Salaam, Shalom.” This song deeply resonated with our community of faith and I would strongly recommend it to you. Check it out at Stefan’s MySpace page.
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Awake My Soul (Chris Tomlin)
- Reading from Psalm 27
- O This God (Matt Redman)
- Mighty Fortress (Aaron Shust)
- Whom Shall I Fear (Chris Tomlin)
- The Sacrament of Baptism
- Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year
- Announcements and Offering
- Message: Coordinates 4 – Walls
- Instruments of Peace (Stefan Van Voorst)
- Benediction: Prayer of St Francis
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.