The writer to the Ephesians is referring in this passage to the way that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, Jews and Gentiles can now be joined together in the household of God. Yet v.19-22 also apply to the church today – where those of all ages and stages can belong. My husband and I describe ourselves as belonging to our local Anglican church, but as I looked around during the Sunday service recently it occurred to me that belonging is not the same as fitting in.
While we are in our twenties, the majority of the congregation are retired and no one is in the same life stage as us – without children, establishing careers, and considering what we want our adult lives to look like. So sometimes it can feel like we don’t have much in common with those with whom we share a pew. We are seemingly ‘strangers and aliens’ to one another, as Ephesians 2 puts it. Yet this passage reminds me that despite the differences in the nature of our everyday existence, we do belong to one another – through our shared experience of the love of Christ.
It can be tempting to stick with those we fit in with at church, and only get to know people we can relate to easily. Over the next few weeks, challenge yourself to start a conversation with someone in your congregation who you might not naturally gravitate towards. In particular, pay attention to whether there are people who might be struggling to feel like they belong. You might also like to think about whether there are ways to encourage stronger relationships between members of the church. Perhaps you could make a ‘who’s who?’ board, keep an eye out for newcomers, or host a social event?
Thank you God, that your love welcomes us into the household of faith.
Thank you Jesus, that your cross creates there a new community.
Thank you Holy Spirit, that your breath enlivens and equips that community in service of the world.
Written by Kat Brealey, National Programme Coordinator of Presence & Engagement, and postgrad student in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding.