This summer for 2 days every week, we have extra help out in our food pantry garden. These aren’t master gardeners and they aren’t members of our church or even from Wisconsin. Our Food Pantry Garden has partnered with Next Step Ministries of Madison, a program that brings groups of high school youth to the Madison area to do service projects here in our community. They come from all over the United States, with the shared goal of helping others. There are so many things that could divide us- we aren’t from the same places, we aren’t the same age, we aren’t all from the same denomination. And yet, God’s abundant creation brings us together- soil, seeds, sun and water helped along by our hands to produce a harvest we can share with people in need.
In this time when so many things have the potential to divide us, we can look to the book of Ephesians and read that they had the same struggles. The people who were part of the church in Ephesus came from different backgrounds and even had different beliefs based on their Jewish or Gentile origins. And the author of this letter (it is debated whether Paul himself wrote Ephesians or not), makes it clear that no matter what might divide us, God’s grace through Jesus Christ brings us back together.
As human beings there will always be things that set us apart or cause us to be different from one another, there will be things that divide us. And Jesus came to reconcile us to God and to one another, breaking down walls, mending relationships and showing us that we are united in Him. In the household of God, Jesus is our cornerstone. He is our foundation and what holds us up. And God works through us, building up within us the very temple where God’s work is done. We are the building materials and we need all of us to have a strong structure. It is God’s grace that brings us together and gives us the chance to share God’s love with one another and the world. Thanks be to God for the things that bring us together-for the gift of grace and the opportunity to serve others!
Pastor Dara Schuller-Hanson