One of the best things about my congregation is the diversity of its members. Sadly, I know this is not the norm, at least among congregations in the United States with our long history or racial tensions. The good news is, and always has been, that unity and peace can occur if we allow the Holy Spirit to work and walk according to Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians.
I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
The “bond of peace” refers to a tie, a together-bond. Could Paul be making a play on words, having just referred to himself as “a prisoner in the Lord,” bound in the Master? He willingly became a prisoner for Christ’s sake. Can we do less?
Walking in Peace
Paul urges us to walk together—humbly, gently, lovingly—striving to maintain that unity to which we are called. In Christ, we are one body. Our societal roles, our cultural boundaries, our race, gender, and vocation are as nothing in light of our ties to one another put their by the Holy Spirit.
Paul mentions peace eight times in the six short chapters of his letter to the Ephesians. Three times, by my count, he refers to his status as a prisoner. Surely, Paul’s bonds were at the forefront of his mind as he wrote these words. We talk about peace as if it’s a good thing, and it is. But we must also acknowledge that peace is a difficult goal.
Peace is the Hardest Goal
For the church at Ephesus, peace must have been about the hardest thing to attain as they strove to maintain their unity; Jews and Gentiles, male and female, slaves and masters had been fashioned into one body in Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit. Outside of Christ, the members would have been in immediate conflict.
The church today faces the same issues. Outside of Christ, we would be at odds due to race, culture, financial status, and politics, but in Christ, we are one body.
Unity and peace are only available in Christ, and it is only attainable if we truly walk in humility and gentleness, patience and love.
 “Greek Interlinear Bible.” Scripture 4 All. Scripture4All Foundation, 14 Jan. 2008. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/eph4.pdf