Sunday’s Scripture ~ Ephesians 4:17-25
The community at Reeves’ is in for a real treat this weekend (I think) because they will have the privilege of hearing my husband preach! Yay Andrew!! I am away this weekend serving as the worship leader for one of the Florida United Methodist Conference’s Confirmation Retreat Weekends.
Translation – lots and LOTS of middle schoolers.
So Andrew is preaching in my absence and it will be awesome. He “preaches” (not sure if he would classify it that way) weekly to his senior high students at the church he serves in Orlando but on Sunday…he’s headed to “big church”.
(Why did we ever call it that? Hmm…)
Now to the text. Ephesians is a “chain letter” of sorts. It begins “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ…” – and after this salutation the letter immediate jumps into the “meat” of the discourse. Well the “to” – which in this letter is “Ephesus” could very easily have been “to” any settlement in Asia. This epistle’s message was written in such a way that it could and did apply to fledgling and developing Christian communities all over 1st and 2nd Century CE Christendom.
In our particular passage this week, Paul is calling the community to task on the mixed signals their behaviors are sending. They are feigning ignorance of the revelation they received in Christ. When the community encountered Christ their weakness, their wickedness, their waywardness was exposed and they experienced how Christ could heal and make them whole. For a time their practices and behaviors altered, but now they have returned to their old ways.
Weekly I volunteer in a first grade classroom at the neighboring elementary school to Reeves. And each time I am in the classroom one of the students slips into old habits that result in correction and modification into new habits. Sometimes the student will admit the mishap immediately…other times they play it off or play it down. The Ephesians…they were playing it off and play it down and Paul as their teacher is bringing them back to a time of behavioral correction and modification for the sake of the gospel.
You can’t say that you have the Good News or that you are people of Good News if your actions are contrary to that Good News.
“You were taught to put away your former life, your old self” Paul says in Ephesians 4:22. In Christ we have received the truth – what is good and holy and right. So why would you – why would we – want to drag all that other stuff back out? And why would we want to feign ignorance to the truth we have received in Christ?
Because that truth can cause unrest. Because once we know the truth of Christ we cannot remain silent. Truth stirs unrest and that unrest leads to action and to speech. We squelch that by reverting to old, comfortable ways…by snuggling up to ignorance and falsehoods.
Sometimes the truth is very obvious and comes to us in likely ways. And sometimes the truth can present it self to us in unlikely places and from unlikely people.
And when Christ’s truth confronts us and stirs that unrest, we are reminded to put away those falsehoods, to put away that ignorance, and to be and speak the truth that we are to our neighbors.
Prayer: Great God of truth, boldly confront the ignorance and falsehoods that we claim as foundation and truth. Break their hold over us. Cure our dependency on them. Deepen our desire for the goodness of your truth, which is pure and steadfast and will not fail. Bind us up in your truth that it will stir unrest in our lives to be and speak your truth in love to our neighbors. In your name we pray, Amen.