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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians’

Human personality is a garden to be tended.

It requires persistent weeding, seeding and overseeing, all the mundane and patient labors that stand unseen behind a riot of color.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31–32 NIV)

For most of us, there is no easy path to the temperament and conduct that reflect a Creator’s and Savior’s presence within and make us worth remembering. (more…)

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Life with people often seems like a storm of chaos, intending to damage.

We are violent. If we cannot imagine striking out with our fists, then we destroy with a word, a sneer, the quick and lethal rolling of two eyes. With our need to voice disagreement with anything and anyone, as though the world waited breathlessly to know what I think about things that hardly matter. (more…)

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The apostle Paul is seldom as brilliantly insightful as in his description of New Creation’s community in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians. The portrait of this new humanity as a body that responds to the direction of Christ as its head is redolent with ethical implications. It is a stirring picture, to say the least, but one that is at the same multi-layered in that way which both begs for and repays careful analysis. (more…)

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At the core of the apostle Paul’s self-understanding stands his calling to enlighten the nations regarding YHWH’s intention to bless them. Indeed Paul seems to evoke the language of the book of Isaiah’s enigmatic ‘servant of the Lord’ when he speaks of how he invests his own life in this almost startlingly non-Jewish mission.

Paul believes himself to be the custodian of a mystery hidden in the secret counsels of God until Paul’s own historical moment. At that time, his argument runs, what was hidden was made clear. Paul’s job is to illuminate the nations regarding the good news that YHWH’s redeeming obsession tracks itself out in their direction, intends to gather them into its embrace, and even sets its sight on renewing the whole creation until it cannot keep itself from bursting into praise. (more…)

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The apostle Paul has few compunctions about mixing metaphors, particularly when straining for descriptors of God and his redeemed people. In the second chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, he weaves together metaphors of citizenship and temple construction. When read against the background of the Hebrew Bible, this is not an unlikely amalgamation of images. Temple, after all, is shot through with communitarian and nationalistic overtones. Citizenship, in the same context, always means belonging in a community that worships this god or these gods and not some other. (more…)

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Paul might be accused of possessing a rather egregious blind spot when it comes to matters of what we blithely label ‘social justice’. In this final chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, he counsels submission and a posture that is easily misconstrued as passivity in the face of the regnant social stratifications of Greco-Roman society.

‘Stay where you are’ is—prima facie—about as radical a statement as his social conscious is able to produce. (more…)

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Paul, who with a purist’s zeal plundered the lives and networks of the earliest Christians, remains in his apostolic career deeply aware of how his actions had stripped him of all credentials based in status or achievement. Something akin to guilt with its barb removed presses him to describe himself with self-deprecating clauses like ‘the greatest of sinners’ or—as here in Ephesians 3—’the very least of all the saints’. (more…)

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