I smiled immediately as I read one of today’s Moravian Daily texts, Ephesians 3: 20-21. It falls within a larger text, Ephesians 3: 14-21, which is one of my most adored texts in the letters of St. Paul. He is writing to his beloved Gentile Christians in Ephesus, beloved friends and partners in ministry who are supporting him in his sufferings during imprisonment. And in this particular text, he is blessing them, praying over them, loving on them, if you will, that they may come into the fullness of God, in heart and mind and soul. He is praying for their young faith – that it be “rooted and grounded in love” (v.17b). His deep deep love for those he is called to witness to and to shepherd is so evident in his words to them: “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith..” (v.16-17a).
What may be most compelling in this prayer/blessing to me though, is that Paul in a way is challenging the Ephesians to embrace this God who is so, so much bigger than they can ever fathom! To not put God is the tidy box, but to expect this God to surprise you, to challenge you, to confuse you, to frankly be more than you are able to comprehend. Paul is calling the Ephesians, you and me, into the mystery of God. Not in a way that renders us complacent to the mysteries of God (as if to say, “I don’t get God, so I’m not even going to try”), but instead, we can almost hear Paul yearn for our stretching, reaching and grasping of the mystery when he writes in v.18 -19, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” And in so doing, we will experience this God at work – creating – restoring – renewing – far more than we can ask or imagine – through us and in us and in the world – this God of abundance and love. (Now that’s a Pauline sentence if I ever wrote one!) To this God be given honor and glory!
I have prayed this blessing over all the faith communities that I have been called to serve in ministry. I have prayed it before I met them, while living among them, and as I departed for a new ministry. It’s deep rootedness in love, compels me to love those I serve with the same depth.
I have been pondering for the past few months a purpose statement for my life, and perhaps the Moravians have given me a gift today to dwell in this text, once again, and hear its deep call in my life. How about you? What in this text is challenging you?
Have a peace-filled day. prL