This is part of a series of posts based on the Churches Together in England publication one light: one world. If you click on the link you will find the biblical texts. This post of the same name covers the purpose of this series.
Ephesians 2: 13 - 22
In this passage, the author describes the church as a place of reconciliation. Recently I have indulged in some negative descriptions of the institutional church and this passage is an opportunity to consider the church in a more positive light.
Our primary experience of church is the institutions and this has advantages and disadvantages. What we are invited to do here, is to perceive the church behind the institutions. Fundamentally, church is not an insititution but an event. It is where people who are otherwise divided are able, through Jesus Christ,to be reconciled.
The 1986 Inter-church Process was known as 'Not Strangers but Pilgrims' (see verse 19) and this vision of the church being somehow bigger than or behind the institutional expressions of church, was how many understood it.
People united in Christ is evidence of the glory of God. It is the breaking down of the walls our institutions create that shows us the power of God. Church institutions might point to the apostles, prophets and Jesus as the foundation of their particular version of the way but what is important is where the divisions created by the institutions disappear.
The dynamic of reconciliation generates a sense of the glory of God. As others are reconciled in a widening circle, as humanity is able to extend and deepen conversation across religious and political divides, we see the reality of God's intervention in the world.