Saturday, March 10, 2018
Eph. 6:23 Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Much of what we learn from Paul is about prayer. In this letter to the Ephesians he breaks out in prayer several times, and just when you think he’s finished praying and wrapping up his letter, he seems to pray again.
Paul finishes up this letter by bringing his readers back to the main theme of the whole letter. The church is to be a place in which Messianic peace is lavished upon the entire community. This becomes expressed in action through holy love, lived out in faith by those who are willing to embrace the work of the Father expressed in the Lordship of Christ. All of this is bathed in unmerited grace as the church grows in her undying love for the Lord.
Paul needed this prayerful reminder in his own life, as well as in the lives of those whom he’d help to disciple. The finest preachers and leaders need the prayers of the church. Those who find themselves working in dangerous places, especially need to be lifted up and surrounded by the community of faith in prayer.
I’m currently in a part of Africa where I’m hearing stories of great sacrifice. It’s humbling to learn what our pastors and leaders are willing to do to share the good news of Jesus with the world. Their passion for Christ seems to exude from every pore of their bodies as they lay themselves down for the sake of others. They rejoice in the victories won, and grieve over the losses. Many have lost children, or even spouses, along this journey, and yet they press on. I have the feeling that I have been in the presence of saints; saints who desperately need the prayers and support of the church.
The cosmic mystery of God’s plan is reprised here at the end of Paul’s letter. Jesus came to bring peace and unity. As diverse communities, knit together into one in the kingdom we watch a miracle unfold. Love, united with faith, cannot be restrained. This love overflows in and through the church community and the surrounding world. We are to be participants, through grace, in this great mystery. To the glory of God.
Let’s not forget the great mystery that is to be revealed through the church. She is the bride of Christ, destined to reflect the holy Trinity in all things, to the world, and to heaven above.
Lord, may the church take time to seriously reflect upon the mystery into which she has been invited. May you be lifted up and glorified in and through her. May she be your holy love in action, taking your mystery to the streets and to those in need. Amen.