March 13, 2020
Preaching Peace, Near and Far
March 13, 2020
As a former English teacher, I am always bothered when casual readers of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” claim Frost believed, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Look again. Frost is repeating the line his next-door neighbor says, and Frost does not agree with him. Walls serve no purpose when they only separate apple trees from pines. Frost, in fact, says, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
The writer of Ephesians doesn’t love a wall either. As we draw closer to Jesus, “who himself is our peace,” we learn that Jesus is a destroyer of walls. One human being should not need to be separated from another by a wall, whether it is metaphorical or real. Walls come tumbling down in the Bible, and we rejoiced when the Berlin Wall tumbled 30 years ago. A seldom told part of this story is the role the churches on either side of the Berlin Wall played. They heard the call to be peacemakers and reconcilers. They prayed and marched and held candlelight peace vigils until the barrier between them was broken.
“For [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Eph 2:14-16).
This Lent, as we strive to be more like Jesus, let us hear and answer our call to be reconcilers and peacemakers.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FIELD
- What can we do to break down the hostility between those who disagree strongly about issues of great concern?
- How can we show the love of Jesus to those who disagree with us?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Talk about what it means to be loved by Jesus. (UMH 191)
- Remember the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World.”
God our Savior, you are our Rock in a weary land. As you protected our ancestors in the wilderness, keep us safe from fear and doubt. Bring us into your reign of peace. In the name of Christ, who is our peace. Amen.