“[R]emember that at that time you [Gentiles] were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” --Ephesians 2:12-13
Between the boundary of the neighbor’s yard and the tangled marsh that fringes the creek runs a bare dirt short-cut to the nearby dog park. Lexi and I don’t take this path. Instead I lead Lexi along the neighbor’s fence line. We can see other dogs going to and coming from the park, but we keep to ourselves. I stand while Lexi sniffs and regretfully watch the other dogs come and go. I’m sorry that Lexi wasn’t socialized properly when she was a puppy (her first owners kept her in the yard). Now she’s too aggressive to be allowed to play with other dogs. Lexi’s left out of the fun. Sometimes we humans feel left out, too. We see others enjoying God’s green pastures while we’ve taken a different path. But we don’t have to be excluded. We’re brought close to God by the blood of Christ. We’re welcomed into Christian fellowship. We’re invited to the green pastures. We can choose the path that leads to Presence. Lexi will be excluded until she improves her manners; we’re already included because Christ shed his blood for us.
Dear God, Don’t exclude me from your presence, but bring me near to you. Amen