An Advent Reflection for Wednesday, December 22nd by Anna Murphy
Lectionary reading for 12/22/2021: Luke 1:46b-55; Micah 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:11-22
Selected passage for reflection: Ephesians 2:11-22
Ephesians 2:11-22 NRSV
One in Christ
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth,[a] called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body[b] through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.[c] 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.[d] 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually[e] into a dwelling place for God.
Belonging. Every human's deepest desire. From our earliest memories on the playground, to high school cafeteras, from starting new jobs to moving to new places- our brains and bodies are literally wired for connection. We are created to seek belonging.
As I began my Junior year of college, the person I once recognized as myself was falling apart before my very eyes. I was seeking fulfillment and belonging in any wreckless way I knew how- and had the legal implications to show for it.
I will never forget the slow simmer of unwavering support and hope in the form of a few humans who changed my trajectory forever. I met Emily and Bryan through an organization we were both a part of, showing potential students around campus. These two knew me in my mess, met me exactly where I was, and invited me into a different life without ever creating distance. My world began to take a pretty different shape- and although I still had to account for the wreckage of my choices, I began to open to the possibility that everything I was looking for was actually already available to me. I began to peel back the layers and realize I didn’t have to search for belonging because God had already given me that space before I ever even walked this earth.
The best experiences of healing and belonging - I think - feel a lot like coming home. Through Christ we have been welcomed into family, putting an end to any dividing wall perceived to keep us from the full access his sacrifice grants us. We have been brought near, united in peace, and are members of God’s household.
Christ has transformed us from strangers to family. May we learn to live from that place of transformation- knowing we belong. To God, to ourselves, and to each other.
Respond & Rest
As we practice the pause this advent season, may we use that space to remind ourselves of what is already true. Close your eyes, if you’re comfortable, and take a few moments to meditate on the feeling of coming home. I wonder, is there anyone in your sphere you can create a space of belonging and home for during this advent season?
About the Author
Anna Murphy is an unschooled, ordinary woman who has been with Jesus. She lives in Richmond, VA and works in the field of addiction and recovery. Anna’s passion is to empower and encourage others into freedom and a life lived fully alive through Jesus.