Before working for the Coign Church I worked in Architecture spending many hours working on drawings, trying to define the ‘actual’ legal boundary of a site before we designed any development. If we made a mistake on a boundary location, it could be very costly. Disputes between neighbours over domestic boundaries are on the increase. Mark Hunter, a surveyor in Doncaster said "These disputes can be more violent and protracted than if someone has gone on trial for murder,"
Boundaries are important to us. ‘Our personal space’ and the phrase ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ are common values, so when someone invades that space or crosses that line, at best, we feel uncomfortable and at worst get aggressive.
Our fences can be defined by ethnic or national background, gender or a social demise, age or economic boundaries. So how does the great news we have in Jesus, jump across those high fences.
If you read about Jesus, you will see he was an expert fence jumper. Many times Jesus ignored clear boundaries, placing his feet firmly in two hotly protected ‘properties’ at the same time. It would appear that everything he did knocked down the high walls separating people.
Jesus was in Jericho, surrounded by the crowds all jostling to see, when Jesus spots Zacchaeus, a tax collector for Rome, who also skimmed off plenty for himself. Calling to Zacchaeus Jesus invites himself to this man’s home for tea. ‘’Doesn’t he know who this scum is?’’ the crowd thought. Of course Jesus knew, but he intentionally smashed through the harsh boundaries that were in that town. If you know the story, then you will recall Zacchaeus repaid everything and his family receive salvation.
Jesus travelled from Judea to Galilee. The normal route for a ‘good’ Jew would have been to avoid the region of Samaria. The Samaritans were considered inferior by the Jews. Jesus however, crosses the border and travels right through the middle of this region. Coming to one town, He stops for a rest and meets a woman, who was un-popular in the town on account of her life style. After a lengthy conversation, she realises who Jesus is, the promised Saviour. Jesus demolished the boundaries of Cultural division.
The ultimate division that Jesus smashed was the huge black, daunting wall that marks the boundary between life and death. At Calvary Jesus started the demolition of the enemy’s stronghold, and 3 days later, after taking it apart stone by stone, and ripping up its very foundations, made the way clear for all mankind to cross the boundary from death to life.
Our communities are riddled with boundaries and fences set up between people. Are there boundaries around you that means you won’t or can’t venture towards those on the other side? Ask God to give you the courage, skill and heart to cross that boundary so you can make a connection with people on the other side. Maybe it’s a boundary of economic difference, or is it a different cultural or national back ground. The fence between old and young can be high: could you jump that fence? Or is it the ‘Christian wall’ we have built around us that is so high that no one can enter our world or demise?
Each time Jesus crossed a fence, the Kingdom of God changed the lives of those on the other side. Why? because now there was no other side, because now there was no boundary, no fence.
Let’s jump fences!