Our theme for today is Peace Among the Peoples, and we once again started with bible study and worship. For bible study, we focused on Ephesians 2:11-22. Below are some excerpts:
“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 […] so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God […] in him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; into whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”
Bible study this morning offered the church an interesting challenge – why do we always carry ministry to those on the margins of society – when often it is those who have, who are deeply imbedded in our society the most, who need the voice of the gospel the most. As we think the church as an example of the alternative community – a beacon of the world God desires and united in our common citizenship in the household of God – how do we witness in the different places in which we find ourselves?
In the United States, and for the Church of the Brethren, this strikes me as meaning that the mission fields are not in the global south, or with those communities are struggling (mission field in the sense of conversion – doing service in partnership with them is still vital), but rather with those around us who are so deeply embedded in a society that keeps people hungry and in poverty, which perpetuates the structures of economic colonialism, and which has so much while so many have so little. Brothers and sisters – how do we witness to them? To our neighbors? It is harder to do this work when the mission field, the people needing conversion, might be those who live right next door, instead of an “other” halfway around the world.