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Read Ephesians 2:11–22

Here we stand, trowels in hand,
spreading mortar and replacing bricks
in the wall Christ broke down.
Like Kool-Aid® Man, with a mighty “Oh, yeah!”
he crashed through, scattering
debris in all directions. It was
a wall of hostility, a dividing wall
          (as are all walls, when you think about it),
but this one was especially hostile.

Frost said good fences make good neighbors,

but while that sort of cynicism has the ring of truth,
it does not ring true. High walls heighten suspicion
and keep neighbors from becoming friends.
Walls on the border, walls in our hearts,
walls you can’t see but you know are there,
keep separate blacks and whites,
          women and men,
                    gays and straights,
                              native-born and foreign-born,
                    right-wingers and leftists,
          poor and rich.

Pick your division; have we got a wall for you!

The walls du jour once divided
Gentile from Jew, slaver from enslaved,
and those are the walls
Jesus took his cruciform battering ram to,
clearing the ground for “one new humanity
in place of the two, thus making peace.”

It was a good idea, but

life without walls unsettles us,
          awakens our latent agoraphobia,
                    kindles our anxieties, makes us long for
the security of prison. We’ve all become
institutionalized; we can’t make it on the outside.
So we offer our hands again for the manacles,
          we beg for readmission to the penitentiary,
                    we take up our trowels and start stacking bricks.

Do you feel that sense of comfort, of relief that comes
as the divider grows waist-high,
          then up to our shoulders, 
                    then above our heads so we
can no longer see those on the other side,
nor can we easily hear them? In time
it will be hard even to imagine their lives.

It will become harder to relate and far easier to hate.

We will patrol our walls with armed sentinels;
we will protect ourselves with electricity
          and rifles and concertina wire.
We will have our own TV and radio stations
pumping us full of comforting (if not nourishing) pabulum;
we will have churches and preachers
          and politicians and pundits who will tell us
we are stronger, more virtuous, better looking,
          more righteous, and entitled to a better heaven
than anybody on the other side.

But we are never safe,

so shore up the walls, buy more guns,
go nuclear, dig shelters,
         be afraid,
                   be afraid,
                            be afraid.
Keep your trowels at the ready
          and above all else,
                    most important of all,
keep an eye out for that Kool-Aid® Man
with the nail-scarred hands
whose whole mission is to knock down walls
and thrust us into searing light
          and hated freedom
in a world (and a heaven)
without walls.

Grace and peace,