A Reconciled People
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The person sitting next to you images God in their thinking, behavior, emotions, and posture. This simple, yet profound understanding can stir us to look at one another with reverence and awe. However, too often we flip on the news and see people tearing each other down. We should see this as an attack on God Himself.
One of the reasons I love New York City is it is the greatest place to capture a fuller expression of God because there are so many unique people here who image God Himself (whether they know it or not). As we sit on the train or the bus or at our desk, there are three things we can remember when we think of the person sitting next to us.
1) We must embrace a higher view of the image of God.
When that odorous, homeless person asks you for money, you can look at him through the lens of God, with joy and commonality, and in need of grace. When that coworker is deceitful in her business deal, you can look at her with compassion, a person in need of grace. When a child is rebellious, we can see them as Christ sees us, in need of grace.
It is when we embrace a higher view of the image of God in all people that we can have a right view of humanity.
2) We must embrace a humble view of our human divisions.
As Ephesians tells Christians, through Jesus Christ, we have been made one. This is a fact. But the Lord knows that living as one is difficult, which is why Paul calls us to a posture of humility. He knows there will be white supremacists and other evil groups that build themselves on pride, believing their value trumps another’s. This is the work of Satan on display.
The work of Christ on display is humility, gentleness, and eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We must embrace a humble view of our division.
3) We must embrace our home as a reconciled people.
Christians have a home in the Church. Often, it doesn’t feel like an earthly home or a heavenly home, but Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection opens the door for us to draw near to God and to one another. No other place in this world affords us the opportunity to come together as one. More than unified in ideas and beliefs, but in our very souls, we can sing and hear the gospel together as one.
The very word reconciliation means the coming together of two enemies who were once unified. As we embrace a higher view of the image of God, a humble view of our human divisions and a home as a reconciled people, we can see the very thing our world craves: reconciliation.
* * *
Nick Nye is the lead pastor of Apostles Union Square, a church partner of Hope for New York.