From the letter to the Ephesians in today’s morning prayer:
Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known
The epistles associated with St Paul speak in slightly mysterious terms of a mysterious, hidden plan of God being fulfilled in the creation of the church as the body of Christ. It sounds a bit spooky and odd and isn’t often talked about. But it is really relevant and important to us now.
The key teaching as I see it is that when we are invited to find ‘salvation’ in Christ (I’m using quotes not to query it but to stop and make you think what the word might really mean), then we are grafted into Christ to abide in him – along with everyone else who comes to him. Together we are invited to discover ourselves as one body in or of Christ.
God’s plan in Christ in doing all this is not just to rescue a few individuals from society, but to create a new sort of reconciled, peaceful society, for the whole world. It’s what gets called the kingdom of God: a kingdom that turns human power games inside out and works relationships in a whole new way, the way God always planned them to be.
Now comes the punchy part: the corollary is that if we as Christians don’t accept and live out this redeemed way of life, accepting and including each other in our difference and diversity, it’s not just a crying shame but we may be blocking God’s purpose, and – the tendentious bit perhaps – actually putting salvation at risk (remember I am suggesting we see salvation not as individuals plucked out of society but as something God is giving us in a new society).
So we’re in this together. And whatever our differences, there must be love. As Christ is to us, so must we be to one another.