The Cornerstone of our Faith
by Elaine Pierce
Paul wrote this letter to the new church in the city of Ephesus. [He wrote this letter, and the books/letters of Colossians and Philippians from prison.] In today's passage, Paul focuses on how Gentiles were coming to Christ, and how important it was to welcome them as full members of the body of Christ. Gentiles were formerly without hope. He refers to them as the "uncircumcised," and believe me, this was not a compliment. Circumcision was a hallmark of God's chosen people and their obedience to the law. He urges the Ephesians to recognize that gentiles are no longer 'foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.' (v. 19-20).
If Paul wrote a letter to our church today, what issues would he take a stand on that might threaten to divide us? What would he have to say to us? I think he might have a lot to say! He would encourage us to continue to find our hope in the only One who offers eternal life. He would remind us that Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith, and that our church, UALC, and the body of Christ in Ohio, the United States, and the world, is "joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (v. 21-22)."
It is exciting to think about the plans to refresh our physical campuses at both Lytham and Mill Run and to make them more useful, functional, and beautiful so that they will effectively serve those who worship here for generations to come. What we can never lose sight of is what our mission has been since the very beginning: to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ. He gave us this mission more than 2,000 years ago, and it continues to guide us today. Today's passage clearly reminds us that through Jesus, we have access to the Father by one Spirit (v. 18). We have a clear purpose and mission, and we come to him with grateful hearts, ready to serve.
The book of Ephesians was written to a specific church, but it addresses universal issues. We are so tempted to divide into camps when problems arise. Jesus has a better answer: come sit at his feet. He will make all things new.
Take some time now to ask God to make these verses come alive in your heart. How does he want you to share the good news of Jesus with others this week? Ask him to lead you. He loves you and longs for you to spend time with him, and he will show you who needs this good news.