FOR THE SAKE OF YOU GENTILES
with Rev. Rachel
1 FOR THE SAKE OF YOU GENTILES Ephesians 3
Once inside, insiders can forget: They were not always inside.
It’s a human phenomenon—an old-as-time dynamic. It didn’t take long for God to have to say: “Remember that you were once slave in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5).”
When we’re new to town, newly in charge, recently invited into a reality that preceded our participation therein, better behavior prevails. We are, at that point, still sensitized. The extent to which hospitality is offered and we present ourselves as wanting recipients, we consider these things.
Sometimes a circle widens. A chair, bearing our name, is pulled up to the table. One day we look up and see, that against all odds, we belong. It is a sweet realization. With time, the graft marks fade. Nothing makes us mind the fact that we were and are an incorporated part.
So begins the shift.
Maybe we stop using the five minutes before a scheduled program to greet a stranger; turning instead to a familiar face, unaware that in so doing, our back is to the door—the door through which we once entered for a first time.
Maybe we start talking about the sorts of things that keep others out, not realizing that this is the effect even if not our intent. Maybe we grow less accustomed to asking ourselves if what we are about to do is more self-serving than it is God-honoring.
Paul labored long and hard in keeping with his call. He was called to graft others in (Romans 11). The incarnation had wreaked holy havoc with the family tree. It was now plain to see, all sorts of folks were to be counted kin. Christ had asked him to take the life he had left to live and to wage inclusion.
You are Gentile. I am a Gentile. We weren’t always heirs to the presence and promises of our God. It is worth remembering because, I believe, it snaps us back to a place of Christ-like living. It puts us in our place. As we were once graciously grafted in, we concern ourselves with passing it on, paying it forward, doing likewise.
In our homes, at our workplace, on our pew: “Remember that once you were...At that time you were without...You were aliens...strangers (Eph 2).” Let this be what stirs us to look for the magi. May we see something of ourselves in them and the manger scene for what it is: Opened up; to and for, what’s on the outside.