Monday 23 November 2015

Bible Book:

"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." (vv. 18-19)

Ephesians 3:14-21 Monday 23 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 132


Any passage that begins "For this reason" should make you wantto look back and ask "For what reason?" And the reason Paul hasjust given is that "we have access to God in boldness andconfidence through faith in Christ" (verse 12). Because of this, hesays, his readers, Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike, belong toone family united by God's love for them.

And we catch a glimpse here too, of a growing understanding thatGod's love is experienced in three ways - through the Father,through Christ and through the Spirit. This is some way off themuch later doctrine of the Trinity (the word 'Trinity' in this formonly being used for the first time in the late 2nd century AD), butit is a step in that direction. There is, however, something hereabout the relationship that lies at the very heart of God, andsomething too about the way that we can share in that relationship,which is the basis of the Church.

This becomes the basis of a pastoral prayer for the Ephesians,which describes three related aspects of the encounter with thelove of God:

  • comprehension (or reasoned understanding)
  • knowledge (or lived experience)
  • fullness (or inner transformation).

We shouldn't imagine that the writer is setting out somekind of precise three-stage pathway for Christian growth whichleads to spiritual ecstasy (if only it was that simple!) but whathe is suggesting is that the love of God is all-embracing andall-consuming - a love that fills everything everywhere and for alleternity, and which we can understand, experience and be changedby.

This love is the transforming power of God at work in theChurch and in the world, and this is how God is going to"accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine".The uniting of Jew and Gentile in one shared humanity is just thebeginning.


To Ponder

  • Before we get too carried away, we should ask if, after 2000years, we are any closer to this prayer being answered?
  • How closely does this overwhelming sense of the love of Godcompare to your experience of the Church?
  • What do you think Paul (or whoever wrote this letter) mightwant to pray for us today?
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