We Are One

By Richard James, Council of Twelve Apostles

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  Ephesians 2:17–20

Sometimes we can be uncaring and call people by hurtful names. Two of my friends in school carried such unkind names—they were Penguin and Brick. People thought it was good fun to use these names. However, it made my friends feel sad and angry.

In Ephesus this is exactly what was happening. People were calling one another cruel names (Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised) and Paul was telling them to stop. It must not be this way, he said.

Christ made us all one, for he has torn down the separation between God and us and with one another. In Christ we find peace, for he is our peace. We are all of equal worth to God and so do not build up walls that can separate one person from another. Using unkind names can cause sadness, resentment, and anger. People can become isolated and vulnerable. As disciples we stand with the vulnerable and help build bridges of understanding between people.

Let us therefore see every person as sisters and brothers in Christ, regardless of what label society may want to give them. Can we challenge our cultures that build walls of separation between people, that label people with hurtful names? Can we build sacred communities that are sanctuaries of Christ’s peace?

Our congregations are such places. In such places we affirm we are one in Christ Jesus.

Prayer for Peace:

God of many names, we have many names too. May we always use welcoming, positive, inclusive names when we speak with one another. May we break down the walls that divide. May we unite in Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Offering Blessings of Community

Each day this week receive and share blessings of community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the network of relationships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings are flowing to you from these circles?

Reflect, pray, and write in your journal about the call to be Community of Christ. Go deeper each day as you “discern and embrace” the “divine blessing” of this name that opens you to “become a blessing to the whole creation” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:1). What act of blessing are you invited to complete?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, there will be no strangers in my life—I will make them friends.

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