Reading: Ephesians 3: 1-12
Paul begins our passage by reminding his audience of how he got to where he is at right now: by revelation of God. He was met by Jesus on the road to Damascus, was struck blind for three days, and turned his life around 180 degrees. Paul went from greatest persucutor of the church to the champion proclaimer of the church almost overnight. It was a transformation that only God could lead. The change God wrought in Paul gives him some authority to speak on God’s behalf.
But the news Paul is now sharing is difficult for many to accept. At the core of this new church are ancient Jewish roots. Almost all of the leaders and members of the church are Jews. So, forever they have been “God’s chosen people”. Of all the people in the world, only the Jews are chosen by God. Since the time of creation, the Jews have been the one and only people of God. This is one of the great “we’ve always done it this way” stories. And now, Paul is preaching another story.
Today we still run into the “we’ve always…” stories. A church I was at a while back ran a day center for the homeless and economically challenged. Several people from the church volunteered at the center. So, every once in a while, a volunteer would bring a guest with them to church. This worked out OK because there was a buffer there. But every so often a guest would respond to an invitation and would come on their own. It was then that we learned who the few “we are God’s chosen people” followers were. Yup, these guests are not just like us. Yup, these guests are just like us: dearly loved children of God.
This was the revelation of God to Paul: all people are God’s people. Red and yellow, black and white, rich and poor, white collar and blue collar, … This is the continuing story of God. It is, of course, the ultimate “we’ve always…” story. Jesus loved and welcomed whoever came to Him. There were no applications or interviews or screenings. Come one, come all. All were worthy of His love and care because all are children of God. As Jesus said, “Go and do likewise”, may we also seek to be the light in the darkness to bring healing and salvation to the world in need.