The hinge point of history
Ephesians 2: 11-22 (GNT)
11 You Gentiles by birth—called “the uncircumcised” by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies)—remember what you were in the past. 12 At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all—to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
19 So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God. 20 You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21 He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22 In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.
Do you remember the ‘Millennium Moment’ in the year 2000? I do realise some of you were not even born! There was a huge amount of interest in this rare occasion, with pronouncements ranging from the serious to the plain daft. Would the world end? Would all the computers crash? What, if anything, would be different next day? Should we be celebrating the beginning or the end of 2000? Should we celebrate at all? – it’s just another day!
People had parties. There were fireworks. It was a sort of mega-Hogmanay. My immediate family was caught up in an elderly-relative crisis which had no need of further dramatisation, and the moment passed unheeded.
What was it all about anyway? Just a date, calculated on debatable evidence, and according to a calendar altered several times over the centuries. But BC still turned into AD, and the world has never been the same, changed for ever by the birth, life and ministry, death and resurrection, of Jesus.
The hinge point of history.
No more ‘chosen people’ and ‘others’, no more ‘us’ and ‘them', no more ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, no more strangers to fear or look down on. This Jesus, not born into worldly power, but living an ordinary small-town life, turned everything around with his message that God’s love and forgiveness are for everyone, not just the rule-followers and the holier-than-thou.
God of eternity,
God of before and after,
God of all time,
God of then and now,
God of our fathers and mothers,
God of our grand-children,
we praise and thank you that you came to us,
that you include us,
love us, whoever we are,
in our particular moment.