Saturday 8 November 2014

The Wall Falls Down

The Berlin Wall – what a symbol of human divisions! what hope was born 25 years ago when that hideous barrier Curtain finally came down in November 1989. The whole Iron Curtain was torn in two. Nations one after another emerged blinking into the sunlight. Even apartheid fell apart at the same time. It really felt for those of us who were there as if a fresh wind from God was blowing through human existence, waking us up from the nightmare, showing us that there could be hope.

Yet those heady days did not last. There are new dangers and new hatreds roaming the earth. We are still divided, hiding behind our walls of hostility. Name some – class? nationality? money? the generation gap? the war of the sexes? religion? ideology? sporty types versus nerds? arty types versus Philistines? Jew / Gentile? ethnic Group? Accent? Somehow we humans feel compelled to define who we are by deciding who is IN and who is OUT. It always comes back to us and them in the end.

Jesus however has come to break down these barriers. Somehow bearing the rejection of all on the cross broke down the barriers by which we reject one another. He broke down the wall in his own flesh when his body was broken for us on the cross. His cross puts the whole human race together in one category – sinners who need to be forgiven. There's no IN and OUT. We're all IN – up to our necks!

But he also puts us all together in a further category. We are all equally beloved: that person who is on the other side of the wall from you because they talk funny or they are the wrong gender or they do a menial job or their skin is different or they don't hold their knife and fork right – God loves them as much as He loves you. So much he even went to the Cross for them.

This is how the Bible puts it:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians chapter 2:14-18)
God is the fountainhead of love and peace. Our broken relationship with Him takes away our security and destroys our confidence that we are beloved. It drives us to base our lives on fear - we run away and hide behind our walls. But then the Cross comes! It restores our relationship with God and puts an end to our fear...

But only if we choose it. Let's then come out from our trenches and from behind our walls. Let's come to the Prince of Peace who has broken down every wall. And as we draw near to Him, we'll draw nearer to each other too.