There was a major controversy in the early church ( something I know we are not accustomed to today).  Luke documents the controversy in Acts 15.  There was one major division between Jew and Gentile.

The Acts 15 controversy centered on whether Gentile Christians should go through the same rituals that the Jewish Christians did.  It was an issue of what qualified someone to be welcomed into the community. The Jewish Christians were not recognizing the Gentile Christians membership in the church.

A major theme in the letter to the Ephesians is that God’s plan of salvation is clear through the unified, oneness of the body of Christ.

Yesterday I shared some thoughts about Don Victor, a pastor in Costa Rica who passed away recently.

Many of the mission trips to Costa Rica had the theme of “Somos Uno”  – We are one.  During one of our trips, Don Victor took on this theme. He preached from Ephesians about how we are all different. Different languages, colors, and hairstyles, with different abilities, skills, and gifts. But, when we come together we make up the Body of Christ and together do the work of the Kingdom of God.

Because of the Gospel, we are one. 

This idea – this theology – shaped the ministry we shared.

Yes, there are differences.  But don’t let those differences become stumbling blocks to doing Kingdom work.  What I hear in Ephesians is that we all, no matter the divisions or differences we have, can live together in beloved community to do the work of the Kingdom.

In the Acts 15 debate, Paul argued for inclusion based on grace.

Paul had a goal to unite Jew and Gentile in equal grace. Our God is a God who welcomes the unwelcome. We, as children of God, are called to embrace those who have been marginalized and forgotten. Including those who are different.

Including the unwelcome.