Today I listened to a lecture about Jesus and his actions in the temple. It was very interesting. The temple was a series of barriers to God's presence. The first barrier was to the Gentiles and "unclean", then the next barrier was to the women, then the next was the men.... and so forth. I'm not here to talk about the ins and outs of the temple - but the fact that men put in place exclusions to God's presence. They had made God's presence - his Holy of Holies - unavailable to certain people.
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain seperating the Holy of Holies - the place where God resided - where his presence was - was torn in two. This barrier was destroyed - God's presence was now for everyone.
Here we are, some 2000 years later - and we still have barriers in place. Either we make them for ourselves, or make them for others.
We have to be careful that we are not guilty of behaving like the temple priests, but putting people in a place where they don't feel they can access God freely. We can do this by our actions - our condemnation of others, hypocrisy religious oppression, social oppression etc etc. It's our job, as people who are priveledged enough to access God whenever we feel like it, to make others feel they can too, if they want to. It doesn't matter what they look like, what their lifestyle, their choices in life, their personal hygiene, their race, their sexual preference etc. God is not off limits to anyone. We have no right to create road blocks and exclude others.
Jesus died that horrible death for ALL. None of us are worthy in any way, shape or form. But he died, to save you, to save me, to save everyone. Exclusion ended 2000 years ago when Jesus said ".. it is finished."
And it is finished! Thankyou Lord that there is not one single person on this earth that is not able to come to you. Thankyou that you died for every single person, whether they asked for it or not. Thankyou that everyone can be in relationship with you, no matter what.