Our world is broken.

We see it in wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. We see it in the streets of our cities with riots and violent protests. We hear it in political debates turned into name-calling shouting matches. Closer to home, we see the brokenness in divorce, addiction, and an epidemic of loneliness because people don’t know how to have healthy relationships.[1]

The answer is The Gospel.

As divided as our world is, few of the causes for divisions are as great as the ancient rift between Jews and Gentiles. Yet a remarkable thing happened in the early Church. That rift was healed by the Gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote of it in his letter to the Ephesians –

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2 14–18 (NKJV)

The “both” that are made one in Christ are Jews and Gentiles. Faith in Jesus broke down the age-old barrier that existed between them. Jesus brought peace where before there had been hatred and animosity.

The power of the Gospel to not only heal the rift between God and man but also between man and man is one of the greatest gifts The Church has to offer this moment in our broken world.

In Luke 21, Jesus answered the disciples’ questions about the future. After telling them catastrophes like war and natural disasters are not a sign the end is near, He described what things would be like just before His return. He spoke in verse 25 of the “distress of nations with perplexity.” The Greek words translated as ‘distress’ and ‘perplexity’ are strong. They speak of problems so great there’s no solution. Consternation is so great, it’s incapacitating. And it isn’t just one nation in view. The problem is global.

One of the perplexing challenges nations are dealing with today is the fragmenting taking place in their societies. People are dividing into ideological camps at odds with each other. Complicating things is a growing refusal to negotiate or attempt dialog with those on the other side of whatever divide people camp on. The classic virtue of living in community with other viewpoints has been exchanged for a new virtue of fences, threats, and rejection.

The carving up of society into hostile camps has Secularists utterly baffled. About a century ago, they claimed the main cause of division among people was religion and politics. They said if we could just rid ourselves of them, people would unite. We would all sit around a campfire making s’mores and singing Kum-by-ah. So they moved to oust God from the public square and make it socialist. It resulted in the Culture Wars of the 70’s and 80’s.

Secularism won the war. Religion was shoved to the edge and a soft form of socialism was installed in just about every branch of government and parts of the commercial world.

But – Surprise! The promised unity of the masses didn’t materialize. On the contrary, society shattered into a thousand angry pieces. We are more divided now than ever. So much so, that people pack up and move to areas of the country friendly to their faith and politics. Blue states have gotten bluer while red states get redder. California, where I live, once the fastest-growing state in the US, has lost almost a million people over the last few years. It’s no secret we are experiencing a major sorting in society. It’s been labeled, “The Big Sort” by the secular press.[2]

Racism, while a real problem, was in fact being eroded where The Gospel thrived. But the triumph of secularism has seen racism, with its twin cousins, bigotry and prejudice, roar back to center stage.

The greatest unifying force in all of history is The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Where Christ reigns, Love grows and life flourishes for all. The things that divide people are dissolved by the grace of God. The Gospel unifies because it edits identity. It takes up all the incidentals of who and what we are in this world, and subsumes them under who and what we are In Christ.

Jews and Gentiles who abhorred one another in the First Century, were so radically transformed and re-identified by God’s grace, the things they once believed about themselves and others were thrown overboard as they became shipmates in their journey in Christ.

It’s not a coincidence that one of the earliest symbols the Church used for itself was a ship. It’s a symbol we ought to restore as we sail the stormy seas of our broken and breaking world.

Those in the Ship of Christ must set aside all the things that have fractured our world and pull together, with a hand over the side, rescuing those drowning.

[1] New Surgeon General Advisory Raises Alarm about the Devastating Impact of the Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the United States |

[2] The ‘Big Sort,’ again: Americans are moving for political alignment : NPR and The ‘Great Sort’ draws transplants pushing Florida to the right, experts say – Sun Sentinel (

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