Ephesians 2:18 Through him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Foreigner (not the band)
Have you ever felt like a foreigner? I have many times, actually, all the time. Every time I step outside my home I know I don't fit in, that some people stare, that many are curious. Indian film music (which I’ve never quite gotten used to) blasts from cars and megaphones and even cellphones. And there are some customs that are uncomfortable for me. Once in a great while someone will bend down to kiss my feet-kiss their hand & then touch my feet-as an apology, or sign of respect. That makes me really uncomfortable. Even though I call India home, there are constant reminders that I'm an outsider. I feel like that with God. Not so much that He treats me like an outsider-if anything He has gone way out of His way to make sure every one of us is an insider. It's that He is so different. His nature is giving; I want to keep everything for myself. He is always working in the background; I want to be center stage, with the spotlight on me. It's like we speak unrelated languages. His language is love, mine is selfishness.
His perspective is very different. For Him, everything to do with us is unity. He has called us citizens of His country-not just legal residents. We don't need a visa, no special documentation. Our heavenly passport is all in order. And He places His Spirit inside-our Advocate if we face any legal problems, our Comfort when we are despairing, our Friend to go with us when we have official business, our Translator when we don't understand the language.
Before Jesus came, there was a thick wall of a curtain between the place where ordinary people could be and the presence of God-the Holy of Holies. Gentiles couldn't come into the temple, let alone the place where the presence of God met with men. We were separated from God. We were all foreigners.
When Jesus died the curtain was torn from top to bottom. The barrier was destroyed. And now we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we have access to the temple-we ARE the temple. We are the house God lives in.
Maybe you feel distant from God. I often do. The Spanish monk St. John of the Cross wrote of the dark night of the soul (la noche oscura del alma) that is a necessary part of the journey toward the light of heaven. Maybe it's healthy for us to feel like foreigners on a journey to a foreign home. But God is not a foreigner to us. He is the very present Help in time of need, and He has chosen us as His dwelling place. We are the place where He feels most at home.
One final thought. We are the temple, as Peter says, lively stones, built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets and Jesus Himself. I live in a building made of hollow brick. Imagine if each brick began to argue and wrestle with each other. Soon this building would be a pile of rubble, with all the residents bloodied corpses in the ruins. Since we are, together, the dwelling place of God, we need to learn how to get along with each other-to support each other.
Prayer for Today
Help me today to make my mind, soul and body a place where you feel comfortable and safe and loved. Make me, truly, Your home.