The Broken Wall, or: From Alienation to Reconciliation -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 14:2 (Winter 2005)
Article: The Broken Wall, or: From Alienation to Reconciliation
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Broken Wall, or:
From Alienation to Reconciliation

An Exposition of Ephesians 2:11–22

David J. MacLeod

Dave MacLeod is Dean for Biblical Studies at Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa, and is Associate Editor of The Emmaus Journal.

Introduction

New England poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) used to go out with his neighbor each spring to mend the stone wall between their properties that the swelling frozen ground and hunters had knocked over. After one such day he wrote a poem with the evocative line, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”1 In that observation Mr. Frost exhibited a keen grasp of the human condition.2 There is something in man’s nature that sets him to the task of building walls

between himself and others. The walls he builds come in all shapes and sizes. He builds barriers between races, nations, economic classes, educational levels, age groups, and religions. The result is a world in which people find themselves alienated and estranged from one another. Modern man (and woman) feels alienated from his government, from his employer or employees, from his neighbors, and from members of his own family. There is disunity between man and man and within each man’s own nature.

The Bible explains that the alienation people feel is more radical than just social, economic, political, or familial hostility. It says that the real reason people find themselves cut off from one another is that they are cut off from God who created them. In fact, the Bible goes further. It asserts that the alienation is cosmic. The whole universe is rifted.3 There exists a condition of spiritual disorder that involves conflict in our relationships with one another and with God. And the conflict exists even in nature around us (“red in tooth and claw”) and in the supernatural sphere itself, that is, in the realm of the angelic beings. Sin looms everywhere in the universe. Disharmony reigns everywhere. The cosmos is split.4

One of the great unifying themes of the Epistle to the Ephesians, perhaps the central unifying theme, is God’s love for man and his aim to do away with all the discord and unite all things in Jesus Christ. Or to put it another way, the theme is the church, the universal and unified fellowship of the redeemed.

Ephesians 2:11–22 addr...

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