Ephesians 2:11-22: The New Humanity

Greetings bloggers,

I know this is late, but Tree Anthem is out on a retreat, and this was the first chance I had to sit down and work on our devos together. It still counts!

Tonight's passage speaks to me on a profound level. I'm a little bit lost for words in the passion I have for the Bride of Christ, the Church of the Saints. The long and short of it is, I'm tired of the division. What used to be one united Church is now several churches, denominations fighting over the smallest of theological differences, and leaving most of their members confused about the direction Christ has for them.

Listen to Paul:

But now in Christ Jesus you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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...

Because I'm such a Rob Bell fanboy, I've loved the phrase "the new humanity" for a while, even though I've never really been able to wrap my mind around it fully. I don't know what the new humanity looks like in it's purest and most beautiful form. But I believe firmly that I'd recognize it when I see it, and I'm not recognizing it.

Every division within ourselves is a step further away from the new humanity.

I understand that we have some pretty serious disagreements on some fairly serious issues. I understand that we can get a little bit feisty when it comes to things like women in ministry and how often we serve communion and infant vs. believer baptism. I understand that there comes a time when you need to hold fast to what you believe, and not make compromises. I get that.

What I don't get is why we aren't making more of an effort to reunite the Church rather than to split and splinter it as much as it will go. Why aren't we doing our every effort to be united under the flag of Christ, reaching out to a weary and desperate world in need of his love and of his grace?

When you think of it in terms of youth ministry, you can come to some pretty scary questions. Namely, are you teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ or are you teaching the gospel of John Calvin or Martin Luther or John Wesley or Joel Olestein or even in my case Rob Bell(the list goes on and on and on)? And if you are truly teaching the gospel of Christ, are you taking steps to reconcile yourself to all things (Hebrews 9) including the churches in your community who believe differently about particular details? Does your youth group participate with other youth groups in town, or is there tension there? Are you willing to set yourself aside to become the youth leader Christ has called you to be?

I don't know what the new humanity looks like. But I'd love to see it in my lifetime.

Tomorrow we'll kick it with Ephesians 3:1-13