Friday, June 02, 2006

Ephesians 5:1-20

Once again, Paul gives us a lesson on how to live life; loving deeds flowing out of thankfulness gone rampant. The first thing which came to my mind when I thought of the word rampant was my catnip. Years ago, the Mad Gardener and I bought a small catnip plant at thenursery. We presented it to our cats and our younger cat quickly ate it down to nubs, then sat in it and, energized by the catnip, swung at the first thing she saw (her mother). Despite her enthusiasm the plant survived and was planted in the garden.

The thing about catnip, though, is that it's very hard to contain. As we speak it's growing taller and reproducing in the backyard. Placed in a pot, it fills up the pot and will reach out to the nearest pot if it can, to spread. It lives through the winter and was one of our first spring crops.

Paul describes how Christ's sacrifice for us was God's love gone rampant, a love "not cautious but extravagant" (v2, The Message). -This is one of my favorite verses from the Message version: "Watch what God does, and then you do it...MOSTLY WHAT GOD DOES IS LOVE YOU." It's such a simply profound instruction for us all as we go about our workday and interact with non-believers, and those who we love as our brothers and sisters.

We are so blessed. Paul goes on to say that this blessing, to use another analogy besides catnip, means that we are saved from our former life of darkness and murkiness. I think of how scary it is to be in a murky environment, like swimming in murky water, and what a relief the light is in those circumstances. God's love is a relief, and may our life be overflowing with thankfulness.

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