Wednesday 25 November 2015

Bible Book:

"But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love". (vv. 15-16)

Ephesians 4:7-16 Wednesday 25 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 134


This is not as complicated as it looks! 1st century Jewishwriters liked to use odd verses from the Hebrew Scriptures to helpmake a point - in this case a line from Psalm68 (verse 18) which the writer misquotes (not as uncommonas you might think!) He is wanting to talk about God's gifts toGod's people (although Psalm 68 actually speaks about the people'sgifts to God, but never mind), and gets sidetracked into a briefdiscussion about Jesus 'ascending' to heaven and 'descending' tothe dwelling place of the dead. But the real point here is thatChrist has provided the Church with everything it needs in order tofulfil God's calling.

This familiar list (there are similar ones in Romans and 1 Corinthians)describes various activities within the Church that together enablethe Church to grow into what God intends for it - which is theunity talked about in the previous verses in Ephesians.

A united Church is a mature Church, which has grown out of the kindof petty debates about doctrine that provide the excuse fordivisions within the Church. And a mature Church functions like ahealthy body with all parts functioning properly. The image of theChurch as a body is one that Paul liked because it appealed equallyto Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) and suggested something truly'alive' and purposeful. The purpose, of course, is to demonstratewhat "unity in love" looks like in real human relationships.

The title for this week's passages is 'New Life in Christ". The'good news' of the Christian message is that we can be redeemed, orset free from anything and everything that stands in the way of ourbecoming truly mature humans as God intends, which means sharing arelationship of love with God and with our fellow creatures.

This may involve us in "speaking the truth in love" to challengethe prevailing culture of our day - whether in the Church or thewider society - but that is the only way for us to grow up.

To Ponder

  • To what extent is the image of the 'body' is still a helpfulone for us today, given the problems many people have with theirown 'body image'?
  • Can you think of any examples of what it might mean to "speakthe truth in love" today? What might they be?
  • In a culture that idolises youthfulness, what positive imagesof 'maturity' can you think of? Does the Church come across as'mature' or just 'old'? Why?
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