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It’s a hot topic right now, because our President wants to build one. I’m going to stay out of the politics of that, so don’t mistake this for an opinion on the border wall.

Today we are going to see Hadrian’s Wall. Construction began in AD 122, and it is considered the northerly border of the Roman empire. Though the border is close at some points of the wall, it is a myth that this was the wall separating England from Scotland. The wall was once 73 miles long, but I understand, much of it is still in place.

I first visited Rome in 2010, and was shocked that much of the original walls of Rome were still in place. They are really impressive, and I was fascinated that the apostle Paul walked through the same walls that I did almost 2000 years later.

Reading the Bible, of course there are lots of references to walls, 151 to be exact. Here are a couple.

Matthew 7:25

When storms hit, rain pounded down and waters rose, levies broke and winds beat all the walls of that house. But the house did not fall because it was built upon rock.

Hebrews 11:30

By faith the walls of Jericho toppled after the people had circled them for seven days.

Walls were the primary defense of a city, castle, or territory for thousands of years. I find it really interesting that of the 151 Biblical references, however, only 6 are in the New Testament. In some ways, I think that might be because it seems to me Jesus

came to break down walls. Walls for security are just fine, but should we really have walls around our churches?

Don’t have any walls around your churches? Are you sure? Look around. Are all the people in the pews middle class white people who were raised in the church just like you? Are there people with tattoos and piercings? Hispanics? Black people? Poor people? Homeless people? People that have sinned, made mistakes, don’t know the liturgy? You know people like Zaechaeus, Mary Magdalene, the woman being accused of adultery and about to be stoned before Jesus stepped in? Would the women at the well be welcome in your church?

As I look around the pews in my church, I see we have a long way to go. I am happy, though, to see a few people who aren’t white, some who don’t dress like me, or look like me. I’m happy to see people not raised in the church, the former homeless man who is on staff, and now has a house and a car. I’m happy to see sinners like me, just different.

President Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Jesus opened up salvation to sinners and Gentiles. Let’s tear down the walls to our churches and let them in.

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