Ephesians 2:14 – For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall.
We live on a quiet street in a pleasant neighbourhood of old houses and old trees and good neighbours. Our back yard stretched unimpeded across four homes. Once the snow has disappeared in spring, housewives abandon their clothes dryers and re-activate the clotheslines and conversations over the back fences. In the end house up the line lives a retired horticulturist, whose garden is a joy to behold. The rest of us with smaller talents in that area could sit in our yards and enjoy the spectacular view of his handiwork. And from time to time during the summer, we would stroll across for a closer look, or a word of advice about our own more amateur efforts. Then a few years ago, the neighbour next to us found his house too small for his growing family, so he sold it and moved away. We very soon had a new family next door, a young couple with a baby girl. Neighbours on both sides welcomed them with friendly gestures and good will. We were even willing to act as stand-in grandmas for the little one. However, it wasn't long before it became quite evident that our attentions were not exactly appreciated. The next spring, a six foot fence was constructed, completely enclosing the back yard of the new family and effectively shutting them off from the neighbours on both sides. The following spring, a lattice-work topping on the fence brought it up to seven feet. Their privacy was assured. They have not only cut themselves off from their neighbours, but they have cut us off from each other, practically speaking. Things just aren't the same. We still wish them well, but we are saddened.
I was thinking about that fence the other day, and wondering if we don't do something like that in our lives, when we get so taken up with our own concerns that we retreat behind our own "walls", shutting out those who would be our friends. And we shut God out too, because we want everything our own way, without any interference of unwelcome opinions! Walls shut out some of the best things. It can get quite lonely behind a wall. It is also hard to break it down, once it is up. Jesus came to break down the walls that separate.
Prayer: O God, help us to see the invisible walls around us, and to be messengers of your peace and love. Break down the walls that separate us from you, and from each other. Amen.