The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians 2:14-22
We live in a society where people are desperately looking for inner peace, inner strength, inner contentment, and inner calm. In order to gain such contentment or inner peace people have turned to eastern mysticism and meditation to clear the mind. They have resorted to casting off the old fashioned Christianity in order to embrace Buddhism and other eastern philosophical and religious methods.
In today’s letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul makes a powerful statement. I hope it is one we will memorize and write on our hearts. “Christ is our peace.”
Christ is our peace. What does this mean in practical terms?
It means that if we focus on meditation or search for inner peace, our search is somewhat misguided because the source of peace and joy is not inside me. On my own, I’m a complete mess. How can I search for peace in the midst of turmoil? That would be like going to a warzone and expecting to find tranquility or silence.
For a Christian, the Son of God is our source of peace. This is true because it is the Lord Himself who has torn the wall that was raised between us and God the Father. This wall was not built by God to keep us away from Him. This is the wall we built through our sins. When we choose to sin we also choose to live lives that are separated from God. This life of habitual sin makes us slaves and the sins add up to create a series of walls. In fact we become isolated by keeping God and others out of our lives but the truth is that we are creating prison cells. When we are slaves of sin we lose all the freedom that is our birthright through baptism.
According to the Apostle Paul, we are no longer strangers stuck behind the walls of a prison. Christ has torn down the walls we built in order to build a new temple. He says “you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
Christ has torn down the walls but has given us a worthwhile task. We are helping to build new walls for the temple of God and this is none other than the Holy Church itself. We recognize all these saints in the icons all around us and we understand that they are not part of a different or better Church, they are our fellow brothers and sisters in this same structure. Where do you fit in? Each one of us has certain strengths. Each one of us can do something to serve and build up the Church. We can build up the temple with our resources, our finances, our time and our skills. We can build the temple by deciding that we will not be like the rest of the world around us, but will consecrate our lives to the service of The One God. We can raise children who are meant to plug into the life of the Church, to also be consecrated to God. We can build the temple if we allow the Holy Spirit a chance to work in us. Above all we can build up the temple with our prayers and worship of Jesus Christ.
St. Paul tells us that we have been reconciled to God through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we have done nothing good but Our Lord has chosen to pour out His forgiveness, His healing, His joy and His peace. He has done this because He loves us and He has a plan for each of us. We should have a great sense of peace because there is a blueprint for your life and there is a blueprint for the Church. God is carefully crafting you through the Holy Spirit so that you can be used in the best way possible to help build His Church. You can stop looking for your purpose in life. God knew you before you were born. Your purpose was given to you the day you were offered up to God. You are meant to be a holy brick in this holy temple. You can stop searching for inner peace because Christ exists and He is our peace. And if He is our peace, what else could we possibly need?
Glory be to God Forever AMEN.