Today, we have language that soars to the heavens in the Ephesians passage. There is substantive disagreement by scholars, who are much smarter than I, whether Paul or one of his faithful followers was the actual author of this letter. Passages like today's makes me think that those who believe this is not written by Paul are correct. I am no great fan of Paul's. Most of the controversies in Church history, and today, stem from an over-emphasis on Paul's (and his followers') writings as opposed to what Jesus says and does.
Today we are given the unusual circumstance where both the Epistle reading and the Gospel reading dovetail nicely. Jesus is highlighting today the Pharisees being stuck in the letters of their laws, in the minutiae of human-made rules, and thereby losing the bigger picture of what their focus should be in life. They shouldn't be concerned about whether or not Jesus' disciples picked some grain to eat on the Sabbath, or whether he (Jesus) helps someone in need on the Sabbath. Their focus is directed incorrectly, Jesus is saying. They have lost the bigger picture.
Here are the verses from Ephesians:
I pray that, according to the riches of God's glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through God's Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to God, who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.
Jesus' focus today, as well as this portion of Ephesians, is pointing us to be "rooted and grounded in love" so that the Spirit can guide us to do that which we should and must to help those we are called to serve. Life is not about being stuck, or lost, in rules and regulations, but through the love that we know God has for each one of us, from the strength we are given by that overwhelming love, we can have the endurance to change the world, one kind act at a time.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.