Walls

August 4, 2020 Morning Prayer reflection: a mashup of the wisdom of the Reverend Phil Groves and Bishop Steven Charleston

The idea of bridge building is both admirable and common — but there is also the biblical image of wall breaking (Ephesians 2). 

We build bridges across natural divides (especially rivers) but the divisions that challenge us as a human family — in the Bible male and female, slave and free, Jew and gentile and in our day black and white, citizen and immigrant, millennial and boomer, heterosexual and LGBTQ — are not natural. They are the walls those with power have built between us and they are walls that need breaking down. 

The fear of those who built them — those with power — is that once knocked down they — and their power — will not be protected because anyone can come in and out. And they are right. [1]

One day the last wall will be taken down. I have been thinking about that as I see so many stories in the news that are rooted in issues of racism. This fear of other human beings is a learned behavior. It is a wall constructed one brick at a time. Walls in our legal system, in education and housing, walls in employment and health care.

And just as some people continue to try to build these walls of difference between us, others are about the task of taking them down. Deconstructing the walls of racism is deconstructing the myths of racism. That is something we can all work on because wherever we live, whatever we do, there is a wall somewhere in sight.

Look around and I bet you can spot one. So our spiritual place of work in tearing down walls of prejudice and privilege is near at hand. We can work at it each day, one fear after another, until the good work is finally done, and the last wall is taken down. [2]

[1] Phil Groves
[2] Bishop Steven Charleston

Ephesians 2:13-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

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.

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