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. (Ephesians 2:14)
Our nation is trying to come to terms with the violent events of the past week. There are demonstrations and protests—emotional but predominantly peaceful—around the U.S., including one here in Atlanta that has been going on for over five days. People are speaking out about the racial divide in America and demanding change. Our nation wants to heal.
As part of the Body of Christ, need to find our place in the work of healing. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells us that Christ is at work to “create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and [to] reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.”
We are Christ’s eyes and ears. We are Christ’s hands and feet. We are the voice of Christ in this critical time. Each of us is called upon to engage in the vital work of reconciliation. Each of us has to ask, “What can I do?”
Here’s an example. A friend of mine shared this on Facebook. The post is by a young black woman named Natasha Howell.
So this morning I went into a convenience store to get a protein bar. As I walked through the door, I noticed that there were two white police officers (one about my age the other several years older) talking to the clerk (an older white woman) behind the counter about the shootings that have gone on in the past few days. They all looked at me and fell silent. I went about my business to get what I was looking for, as I turned back up the aisle to go pay, the oldest officer was standing at the top of the aisle watching me. As I got closer, he asked me, “How I was doing?” I replied, “Okay, and you?” He looked at me with a strange look and asked me, “How are you really doing?” I looked at him and said, “I’m tired!” His reply was, “Me too.” Then he said, “I guess it’s not easy being either of us right now, is it?” I said, “No, it’s not.” Then he hugged me, and I cried. I had never seen that man before in my life. I have no idea why he was moved to talk to me. What I do know is that he and I shared a moment this morning that was absolutely beautiful. No judgments, no justifications, just two people sharing a moment.
Christ is our peace. Let us be Christ to our neighbors.
Together in Christ,
Rick Neale, Pastor
Pastor Rick Neale
Rick is serving as our contract-call pastor. He is a Teaching Elder in the PCUSA, and he has pastored churches in upstate New York and Miami, FL. After coming to Atlanta, he served as Chaplain for Oncology at Northside Hospital. His previous pastorate was at Church of the New Covenant in Doraville, GA.