"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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... So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God," - Ephesians 2: 13-14, 19 NRSV
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, says that the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection is that "the dividing wall" between us has been broken down -- not only the dividing wall between God and humanity, but the dividing wall between all our various human identities.
This is a challenge to us when our reality has been stated as "11 a.m. Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week" -- not only racially, but culturally and age-wise, too. Can we as Christians, can we as the church, model a different reality to our world? Can we live into the new life that we just celebrated on Easter?
In today's newsletter, we highlight an event sponsored by United Methodist Ministries of Salem-Keizer about Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary
. What does that experience look like through the eyes of those other than the majority of our congregants? And we lift up the Vital Conversations video series
which gives voice to those we don't hear from in most of our congregations, faithful voices which can challenge and encourage us if we're willing to engage.
And finally, many of you will have already received an e-mail of Bishop Stanovsky's pastoral lette
r to the Greater NW Area about our denomination's Judicial Council review of the legality (in church law) of the election of Karen Oliveto last fall to the position of bishop in the Western Jurisdiction. But here is a direct link
to that if you haven't seen it.
How do we engage with those we have framed as "The Other," knowing that in Christ Jesus the dividing wall of hostility has been broken down? How do we do that without insisting that acceptance on our part requires that "they" become like "us"? We start by listening. May the opportunities highlighted in this newsletter provide some beginning.