Read Ephesians 2:11-22.
I confess, I have a love/hate relationship with John Lennon’s classic song, Imagine. It’s probably the closest thing to an “International Anthem” in existence today.
Imagine there’s no heaven / It’s easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky / Imagine all the people / Living for today …
Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too / Imagine all the people / Living life in peace …
You may say I’m a dreamer / But I’m not the only one / I hope someday you’ll join us / And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions / I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A brotherhood of man / Imagine all the people / Sharing all the world …
You may say I’m a dreamer / But I’m not the only one / I hope someday you’ll join us / And the world will live as one.
Obviously, what I love about this song is it’s goal (and the music):
“A brotherhood of man … all the people sharing all the world … the world [living] as one.”
In this respect, Imagine echoes precisely what Paul (not McCartney, but the apostle), wrote here in our text for us today, doesn’t it?
“… to create … one new humanity … making peace.” (vs.15)
But I don’t care one whit for the means by which this song imagines this goal being fulfilled:
“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us … Above us only sky … And no religion too.”
In this respect, literally nothing could be further from Paul’s mind than the words of this song for:
“His [Jesus’] purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.” (vs.15)
You see, Christians don’t have to “imagine.” We’ve already seen the dividing walls of hostility come down and have experienced a taste of the goodness of the total unity of all humanity in Jesus Christ. There’s nothing we would kill or die for to disturb this peace our Lord has bought with his own blood.
In every big and small way, we give peace a chance by gladly setting aside whatever we can that divides. We no longer view each other as “foreigners” or “strangers” or “aliens.” Our cars don’t have bumper stickers that say God Bless America on them so much as we pray daily God Bless Everyone, No Exceptions. If we fight, it’s not with flesh and blood over the boundaries of countries, but with the powers of darkness that seek to divide and alienate, devestate and isolate.
Our objective is not to isolate ourselves away from the world in our own selfish little enclave, but to be near to those with whom we have been “brought near.” Reconciliation, not retaliation, is what we work at every day. There is no place left for racism among us anymore for we rejoice that the barriers between us all have been destroyed by our Lord.
Right? I am talking about us, yes? This does describe you and me as Christians, doesn’t it?
Well, huurrmmmph. I don’t know about you, but I need to pray!
Heavenly Father, have mercy on me when I defy your Son’s purpose in any way, whether I think it big or small. Help me to re-envision, to re-imagine, what your Son’s coming was, and is, all about. May I not be found fighting against him, while all the while claiming to be one of his people. Help me to imagine, and to live, by the song of peace in Christ you would have me sing out for the whole wide world to hear. And may the message of your song begun to be sung in its fullness in my ways with people – all kinds of people – everyday. For the Christ’s purpose, and in his name, I pray. Amen.