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When I was travelling around the world, it brought great comfort knowing that I was the citizen of a country that was at peace and had friendly relations with most other countries. 

As Australian residents we are so blessed to belong to a relatively peaceful nation, so much so that people from many parts of the world are desperate to get in as our rich multi-cultural heritage attests. Especially for refugees, Australia is a favoured destination and I think it’s wonderful that people fleeing war and terror can be welcomed here and find peace. (If only we would do more than the bare minimum.)

In Ephesians 2.17-19 the apostle Paul wrote:

“He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household” (CSB)

We are no longer foreigners and strangers but fellow citizens with the saints. 

As I read these words of Paul I’m reminded that we once were spiritual refugees fleeing the terror of spiritual and emotional turmoil. Our own actions made us enemies of God, but in a great reversal, the God we were fleeing reached out to make peace. Jesus reconciled us to God through the cross so that we can be his children.

There’s another picture Paul goes on to paint. That of a temple. He says that the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 

A temple is a place of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of refuge.

There’s both an offer and a challenge in this reality. The offer is that we come in and find the peace of God. And the challenge is that we will be a people of refuge, where others can come and find peace with God.