Holy Trinity Huddersfield
29 May 2016
A few notes on the sermon, based on the reading from Ephesians 2:11-22,
This is not going to be the sermon as preached, or a review of it point by point, I did not take notes, but my impression from it. So apologies to Mike Wilkins in advance for anything omitted.2
Walls, we always build walls between ourselves. From the proposed wall Donald Trump wants to build between USA and Mexico.
The Old Testament was like that. I created a divide between those who were Jews and those who were not. The Jerusalem Temple went further, with an outer court, the court of the Gentiles, beyond which only Jews could enter, then the Women’s court, then one for men. You had to be a priest to go further than this, then finally there was a curtain, separating the most holy place where only the High Priest could go, and then only once a year.
There were divisions in society. The Bible reading says that the dividing wall in society, even that between Jews and Gentiles, between those who were God’s people, and those not God’s people. The disputes between six Christian orders over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre3 was sited as evidence as evidence of the way Christians build walls between each other.
Jesus did not come to divide, says Paul in Ephesians, but to break down barriers between people.
Mike went further and spoke about divisions within the Church, So we have no excuse to build walls. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, male or female, straight or gay, Jesus came to break down walls.
That, then is part of what Mike said.
I’ll go further. This is my impression, not what Mike said, but if we want to find Jesus, look for any walls we have created between ourselves and others. Jesus will be found on the other side. Walls, in my opinion, also separate us from Jesus.
I normally put the Bible reading up front on my blogs, but I have relegated it to the end as there are some technical terms in it and there is the problem that you may not have read this far.
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.