Tender Hearted, © Mark Hewitt 2015
Over the past seven weeks we have been having parts of an Open letter read to us from the pauline community of Gospel workers. Although adressed to the church at Ephesus, tt is for us too.
So what were they wanting to tell us?
In God’s eyes we are blessed, holy, and blameless. Forget all other voices, cast them all aside. Listen to God, You are blessed, holy, and blameless. We are also “marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit,”
We are one body. What does oneness mean? That we think speak and do all the same? Is disagreement or difference of opinion restricted? No! We are to be grown ups, able to handle complexities, disagreements & differences of opinion. We are to have a robust understanding of oneness and to embrace the multiplicity of one God who is above all and through all and in all. We are called to be one church that brings together many people with diverse gifts in the same way that a body is the knitting together of many ligaments, without a sense of hierarchy as to which is the better gift, for every gift is needed for the body to act. We are called to hold the mind of God, rather than the mind of self or traditional social order.
With this in mind how are we to live? By Imitating God. Imitate God, we are beloved children; and live in love, because Christ loves us – a beautiful fragrant love.
Last week we heard to Live wisely .. to be Spirit filled, do all that is good and right and true. So lets hear the last section of the letter. It is helpful to understand the original context in which the letter was written.
They lived in the era of Pax Romana, or “Roman peace.” Hearers of the letter would have been used to seeing Roman soldiers and also being victims of their violence. The writer of the letter to the Ephesians takes the language and imagery of the forces of the Roman world to demonstrate the countercultural way of God. This part of the letter is very much a final “take care” to us. So we are to clothe or surround ourselves in God’s protection. Exercising spiritual exercises. These will enable us to “stand firm”.
Their blessing to us is our prayer.
Ephesians 6:23-24 (CEV)
23 I pray that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give peace, love, and faith to every follower! 24 May God be kind to everyone who keeps on loving our Lord Jesus Christ.