Verse: Ephesians 2: 19-20
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
I don’t know if you have ever been a stranger or foreigner in a land, I don’t mean a visitor, that has a different feeling, right? When you’re visiting, it’s for a predetermined amount of time, so even if you’re uncomfortable, you can go home when your trip is completed. But when you’re a stranger in a land you intend to be your new home, that is a whole different undertaking. With it comes a whole different set of feelings. Did I make the right choice? Will I be welcomed? Will I understand the customs and culture? What will I need to give up of myself? Will I need to become someone else? Will they like me?
I think any kid who has switched schools halfway through the year knows this feeling to an extent as they stood in the doorway of the lunch room wondering where they fit. Or if you’re like me, you did that a whole bunch of times, and each time was assimilating to the new culture of the school or place where I was supposed to become a member. Let’s take that one step closer to home, what if you moved in with a parent and a new step-parent. So now home is also unfamiliar because it really hasn’t been your home. Are you with me? Ok, one step further, can you imagine that you’re without both of your biological parents and living with a relative or maybe someone who isn’t even related to you? How hard must that be? New place, new people, new customs, new food, new expectations. Are you there with me? Are you feeling that vulnerability?
These early Christians were just in that place, maybe they were in the same homes and with their families, but maybe not. Some were kicked out for their beliefs, but they chose to believe in something bigger than themselves. And God chose them, he chose to welcome them with the same status as his “chosen people”, they weren’t there to serve everyone else. They weren’t there so the chosen ones could feel good about looking down on others – they held the same station as everyone else who believed. They were citizens without a path to work to earn it, no longer looked at as ‘other’. Won’t that be nice when we get to heaven and we’re all on the same level? No one better, no one less? Worshiping God and loving each other because that is what we were meant to do?
I love the second part of this – build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone – not only are they (we) welcome, they are expected to do great things and build on what has already been done. They immediately are allowed to contribute their gifts to the work of the kingdom. No need to earn a new degree for this land even though you earned 5 higher ones where you came from, just start doing the things you were meant to do. Everyone is welcome, and everyone can contribute.
God, I pray that You will show us the belonging that we have in you, and as a result that belonging can flow from us to others. You’ve never said we have to be x amount of good before we can belong or be loved, so let us be like you and love others without requirements of belonging.
Author: Candice Gifford