Saturday 28 November 2015

Bible Book:

"And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality." (v.9)

Ephesians 6:1-20 Saturday 28 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 138


How can a passage about relationships between slaves and mastersbe relevant to us today? Even the instructions for children andparents can seem difficult to apply or inappropriate in manysituations.

It may be helpful to remember that this passage was written for acontext where households were being challenged by the freedoms ofthe gospel (good news of Jesus). There are challenges here forChristian slaves of pagan masters and for Christian children ofpagan parents that may be very relevant to us in our post Christianworld.

While we may now find it difficult that this passage does notexplicitly challenge slavery, it was still ground-breaking withinthe culture of the time. For us today that can be a helpfulreminder of the often pragmatic radicalism in Scripture. Ratherthan being daunted by the challenge for perfection, we can stillwork for significant change that moves us forward. As much ofBritish society is still based on power and riches from slaverythis may be a relevant reminder that we have not yet moved on asmuch as we like to pretend.

A key challenge to those in power comes from both the section onchildren/parents and slaves/masters. That is clear in verse 9 aboveas well as verse 4. This challenge to power is relevant in manyother situations such as work and communities, as well as in ourhomes. Abuse of power and struggles against power are significantcauses of conflict. For the gospel to be truly one ofreconciliation for our world today it needs to address powerissues.

One of the ways the gospel of reconciliation does this is throughchallenging and overturning power. Even though this is clear in thepassage, unfortunately we are often adept at pretending it does notapply to us (as we are not slave owners). However, to do so ignoresthe ability of the passage to point to ways we have power and tochallenge the use of that power. Surely we should be asking theHoly Spirit to heighten our sensitivity to power and free us towield the power we have more appropriately, as well as to respondeffectively to others who have power?

To Ponder

  • In which areas of your life do you feel you have power overothers? How do you wield this power?
  • How do you relate to the people around you who have power?
  • How is the passage calling you to change in your use of, andresponse to, power?
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