17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. (Ephesians 2:17-18)
If you’ve got a few spare minutes now, or later, I would strongly suggest you read (or reread) the entire chapter where our text comes from today.
Yesterday, I alluded to this concept of being near. Paul speaks about how God is near to us, so near that we could reach out and touch him. In fact, that is God’s desire.
In chapter 2 of Ephesians, Paul is speaking to two groups of people who didn’t like each, and didn’t know how to get along. There were the Jews who thought they had a corner on relationship with God, and the Gentiles (everybody who wasn’t Jewish) who were coming to know this God who gave his life for them in Jesus.
They got grace and mercy and were taking to new life like kittens. The Jews said, “Nuh-uh.” And Paul said, “Yeah, huh.” And we continue to struggle to this day.
Several years ago, Bette Midler sang the song, “From A Distance.” With all respect to Ms. Midler, I hated the song. She sang it well–it wasn’t the artistry. It was the way it made me feel: like God was off in the distance occasionally glancing my way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God is near enough to be found, even touched. He wanted that so much he created the bridge to make it possible.
Our prayer this morning is a song.