**I left this as a comment today on our church blog where members of the congregation reflect on that Sunday's worship service.**
At the end of August, a friend posted on Facebook asking for people's reflections on how the world has changed in the past ten years. As I thought about it over the next days, and after reading another link that he posted, I was struck by the contrasts that we've seen since then: moments of hatred and violence thrown into sharp relief by expressions of love and grace. Those instances of love and grace, those moments of universality and commonality are how I choose to define these days. That view doesn't exclude the hatred and violence nor ignore it, but I refuse to believe that these Years of Our Lord will be defined by evil.
During the minister's sermon he noted that academic institutions are moving toward less Eurocentric names for the two primary eras of history, using the term "Common Era" instead of Anno Domini. What occurred to me as he spoke about this was that using this new term for our current age does not deny or ignore the Good News.
This is a common era, one in which all belong to the universal brotherhood of a world of salvation. These are the days in which salvation is at hand for every person should they so choose and accept it. As Paul writes, there is now neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We are made one in Christ, the Christ who breaks all barriers, even the barriers we ourselves have built which separate us from God.
And now here we are in a post-9/11 world and while some choose to see only division, we have seen people come together. We have seen the love and grace of Jesus Christ extended from Muslim to Christian and back again.
This is a common era, and I thank God for it.