So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace,and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.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. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;in whom you also are built together spiritually* into a dwelling-place for God.
In this passage, Paul asks those reading his letter to remember what it means to be a stranger, an alien, to live without hope. Paul’s contention is that through Christ, that alienation is done away with. He says: “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” We are included. We belong. A sense of belonging is a primal human need. It is met in many ways. But many types of belonging are contingent, conditional. When we belong to the household of God, it is a kind of belonging that cannot be lost. This Sunday, when we are receiving new members into our congregation, and when we are dedicating our pledges for the coming year, it is appropriate that we think together about what it means to belong to the household of God.
1. When in your life have you had the deepest sense of “belonging”?
2. In what situations have you felt alienated? A stranger?
3. What is your place in “the household of God?” What is your role in that household?