Pastor John's Daily Briefing - 6/30/2020

Pastor John's Daily Briefing - 6/30/2020

Greetings to all Sisters and brothers in Christ,

The Apostle Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus sounds the call for the community of faith to address all matters and concerns from the perspective of God's actions and presence in Christ Jesus. We are chosen in Christ (1:4); in Christ we have redemption, forgiveness (1:7); in Christ we have an inheritance that enables us to live in hope and to know that we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit (1:13-14). It was imperative for Paul to share this understanding for a church that existed and worshipped a God of immeasurable greatness and power in a time and place of political struggles, religious enmity, where appeals to the sword at times overshadowed submission to the word, the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul clearly understood that the issues of concern of his day would not find resolve through political preferences, the might of the sword, or social and physical barriers that were intended to exclude and divide. The church called to faith is also called to a faithfulness in living out both the reality and the promise of redemption and forgiveness received through the cross of Christ. Attention to sin and its life-altering consequences must be addressed, and not by finger-pointing or the selective placing of blame: "We were dead through the trespasses and sins in which we once lived" (2:1). Humanity, from Paul's perspective of the cross, was unable to get out by and from its own effort the devastating effects of sin. This could only be addressed by the One who stood above every earthly "rule and authority and power and dominion" in this age and the age to come (1:21).

In and through Christ are we able to truly comprehend who we are as a people, extended grace and the gift of salvation, and made and measured "for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life" (2:10). We are reconciled, each and every one of us, to God through the cross, as God in Christ has put to death all the hostility that exists among us in various sorts (2:16). As a Biblical commentator notes, "The risen Christ and his cross are the new principle of identity, constitutive of a new community, and the new test for a community's discernment." Only in and through Christ are we brought from the ways of sin and death to life, life as a gift and a reality that God measures for peace not hostility (2:17).

The Apostle Paul understands the church to be one body that provides both alternative and correction to the enmity in our world that seeks to divide and exclude. The church in Christ is called to be the body that resists any and all attempts to further erect walls of hostility and division. For Christians, our first steps toward common ground and understanding will begin at the foot of the cross and will lead us as one body to those places where walls of hostility must be broken down in the name of Christ. Any solidarity we are to have with Christ will be exemplified in the solidarity we have with and for each other, in the performance of peace and hope for all.


"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (3:20-21).


In Christ shall we live!    Pastor John