Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
When I was in high school, I went on a cross-cultural trip to Germany. I stayed with a local family while sightseeing and immersing myself in the culture. Unfortunately, I utilized German class for my afternoon nap, so I couldn't speak, read or understand the language.
For those three weeks, I was like a fish out of water. I felt out of place and uncomfortable in my surroundings. As my host family conversed at dinner, I'd politely nod my head. I had no clue whether they were talking about their day, sports, politics, or how stupid American teenagers were.
They were hospitable and very gracious. Even though I had a spot at the table, I wasn't family. Instead, I was a stranger living in a strange land that had an odd fascination with David Hasselhoff.
In today's passage, the Apostle Paul addresses the Gentiles who had accepted Christ within the church of Ephesus. He understood the tension and angst they probably felt. Everything was new - new customs, new rituals, new beliefs. Paul wanted them to fully grasp the ramifications their decision to follow Christ had on their identity.
They were welcome at the table. They had dignity, significance, and worth. The door swung wide open for them to experience the full life Christ offered. No longer were they strangers, temporary visitors or tourists; they were now part of the family of God. Their faith had changed their status. The same is true for us.
We are citizens of God's Kingdom and members of His household. Christ is what keeps it all together. He enables us to come out of isolation and bring our whole selves to the table. Being part of a family has benefits and privileges. At home, I can indeed be me. My family sees the good, bad and ugly of my heart, and loves me through it all.
There's freedom in being able to be fully known and fully loved. You're in, you're special, and you're needed. Those are words I can appreciate and truly understand.
Do you see yourself as a member of God's household? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
God, thank You for making a place for me to be known, encouraged and challenged. I will rest in the security that being part of something bigger than myself provides. I want others to know they are welcome and have a seat at the table due to Your love. In your name, Jesus. Amen.