Monday, March 30, 2009 – Ephesians – Christ
This is probably my most favorite book of both the Old and New Testaments and I like it so much because I find myself seeing what God has in mind for us. I also find myself speaking when others do not, preparing for conflict when others do not.
From La Biblia de América: The ideological center of this letter is unity, which we see often in Paul’s writings (there is similarity between this letter and the one to the Colossians). Ephesians, however, focuses on how this unity of all in Christ and for Christ flows from God’s plan for us. God has set aside a special task for his people: that the Church be a place where discrimination ends, where there are no racial, religious or social privileges, and where unityis not uniformity and passivity . . . but rather dynamism and collaboration.
Too many times there is silence in the false name of “keeping peace” when voices ought to speak out against injustice. Here we must remind ourselves that when living in community we are called to rebuke one another gently, looking for Christ in one another.
A bird’s eye view of this letter follows. Chapter 1 tells us about Christ’s supremacy. Chapter 2 describes Christ as the central builder of peace and unity. Chapter 3 announces God’s plans in Christ. Chapter 4 describes how we might be unified in love, bringing together the plurality of our gifts. Paul writes of the invitation for growth which is always before us and how we can all be made new in Christ. Chapter 5 picks up where 4 left off: with a description of the exigencies of this new life, and leads us to an understanding of how our conduct leads us to be light to the world with Christ. Chapter 6 concludes this letter with a beautiful description of how we might wear Christ as our armor when we must stand to witness. I confess to reading these verses about once a week or so. They are that valuable.
Through this one epistle, Paul captures the essence of Christianity, placing our mission to the world before us, explaining God’s plan, Christ’s preeminence, and our own important role in God’s work. Paul is explicit about when we must do battle for the Lord; and he details for us how we are to put on Christ as our armor.
Draw your strength from the Lord . . . put on the armor of God in order to stand firm against the devil . . . gird your loins in truth . . . put on the breastplate of righteousness . . . shod your feet in readiness for the Gospel of peace . . . hold faith as your shield that the flaming arrows of evil may be quenched . . . put on the helmet of salvation . . . take up the sword of the Spirit . . . which is the word of God. Remain in constant prayer . . . pray at every opportunity to the Spirit . . . be watchful with perseverance and supplication for the holy ones . . . make known the Gospel . . . have the courage to speak.
When we feel drawn in by disputes that seem insurmountable and vituperative, when we sense that the Beast and the Harlot approach, when we hear the murmurings of the people who plot on their couches . . . this is when we take up our armor to make our feet ready to walk the path of peace. Not in passivity. Not in uniformity. Rather, we ready ourselves for dynamic collaboration with the rest of the faithful, and we seek the courage we need to bring our diverse selves into one great movement toward Christ. For this is all that matters. This is all there is.
LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.
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