Monday, January 12, 2009

Ephesians 1:1-14

How much do you think about God?

We live in such a busy world. Do we ever simply sit down and reflect on who God is? Do we think about his magnificence, his splendor, the depth and extend of his lover for and goodness towards us?

Paul thinks about God. “How blessed is God!” he writes, expanding that thought in the verses that follow. As I read them, I cannot help but feel how deeply blessed we all are to be able to share in that blessing. “And what a blessing God is!” Paul exclaims, and I cannot help but agree. This is surely one of the great benefits of engaging in the very ancient practice of thinking about, or meditating upon, the very glory of God.

Whether or not we think about God, these verse make it clear he thinks about us. A lot. Since before the world began. “Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.”

I think what God is a saying is that from the very beginning he has made up his mind to love us, and nothing is going to change that. His love and commitment for us are a reflection on who he is, and so not subject to the vicissitudes and changes of our lives or our world. He is absolutely faithful, absolutely loyal, can always be counted on to love us without fail.

Paul is going to go on to show how what we believe about God must be joined to what we do for God. He is going to go on to address our various relationships in very specific ways, encouraging us to see how God’s relationship to us is meant to shape our relationships with one another. As he is unfailingly faithful to us, so we need to be unfailingly faithful as well.

The world, the church, and the people in them will always change. I will not always like those changes; in fact I often do not. But when I am at my best, those changes do not determine my actions. I want to stay faithful not because of what anyone else does or doesn’t do, but because—by God’s grace—it is who I am.

(Note: I’ve chosen the use The Message for reading these verses. More traditional translation introduces the idea of predestination, and it is entirely possible that this will lead readers down a theological rabbit trail and so miss what these verses are really about.)

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