It is always tempting, especially as we approach elections, to artificially divide the world into tribes. We tend to imagine ourselves as part of one group, and we compare ourselves with another group. In short, we split the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’.
‘Endurance’ (or ‘perseverance’) in the New Testament is a difficult concept. Sometimes, as in Colossians, it is a positive quality – something to be desired, the ability to stand fast, to wait patiently, to survive.
'Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.'
It may be the saddest verse in the Bible. ‘We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel’. When the disciples meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus, they have just seen their leader die horribly. Everything they had hoped for, expected, longed for…. gone.
Often, when belief in and zeal for the things of God are on shaky ground, stock answers to our questions can do more harm than good.
Recently, I was reading an interview with the late, great Leonard Nimoy, where he was explaining the background to Mr Spock’s ‘Live long and prosper’ greeting. I must admit that I have used this greeting myself on occasion but I was amazed to read the origins of this mysterious tradition.
There are few things that we can be certain of in this world – whether it’s the results of our favourite football team or the results of an election, the world can often feel uncertain.
The writer to the Ephesians is referring in this passage to the way that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, Jews and Gentiles can now be joined together in the household of God. Yet v.19-22 also apply to the church today – where those of all ages and stages can belong.
Right at the start of all things, God decided that people should not be alone. Some animals live solitary lives, but not humans. We are best when we are connected with one another.