September Newsletter & Message
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. – Ephesians 3:18-19 NRSV
If you have been in worship with us throughout August, you know that we concluded our informal summer series, “Do Over!” with three weeks in Ephesians. Though eminently fitting for this season in our church, I can’t take credit for its timeliness. My main goal in scheduling these passages was to rework and (maybe) redeem some of my earliest sermons. But, when I returned from Annual Conference and sat down to map out where these sermons might take us, it became obvious that we were meant to listen in as Paul addresses the Church in Ephesus.
While the connecting theme of the past three weeks has been “unity,” it is important to see that Paul isn’t calling them to unity as though it were the highest Christian ideal. He says what unites their church is the presence of Jesus Christ living among them and through them, which unites them to “all the saints,” and even to us today. Why? Because as imperfect as we are, Christ has chosen the Church to be his body to the World, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Though the Ephesians will surely continue to have their differences, Paul understands that as God’s grace draws them closer to Jesus, they are drawn closer to one another along the way. So this kind of shared commitment does not just lead to church unity, but through church unity toward fulfilling the larger call of the Church. Paul acknowledges that the Ephesians will retain differences and disagreements, but they share a faith rooted in both truth and grace.
So, while much uncertainty remains about where our denomination, nation, and world are headed, one thing we can grab and hold tightly is the promise that God is with us through all of the uncertainty. One way God does this is through one another, the Church. I have personally experienced within this body of believers that God is doing something new. I have heard a resounding desire for both unity and biblical truth. Whether or not we arrive to unified opinions on these matters, it is encouraging to know that we have one another along the way to work through these issues, as God’s Spirit moves and lives among us.
I remain available to discuss these or any other concerns. The planning for church-wide listening is underway. Please lift us up in prayer and bear with us as we roll out our next steps.
Grace and peace,