The Church Year and the Lectionary Commentary – 17th Ordinary (Day 3)

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 This is why I kneel before the Father. 15 Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. 16 I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. 17 I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, 18 I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. 19 I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
20 Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; 21 glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.

“Far beyond all that we could ask or imagine” – herein is grace!

“Far beyond all that we could ask or imagine” – herein is glory!

“Far beyond all that we could ask or imagine” – herein is the secret of life with God!

The love of Christ which is “beyond knowledge” is love “far beyond all that we could ask or imagine”!

Undivided, unconditional, unfathomable – such is the love that has us in its grasp and will not let us go. Yet we live in such poverty, self-chosen poverty, open only to what we can ask or imagine. Love, sought according to limits of our imagination and lived in accord with our small willingness to ask lock us into perpetual poverty at the very center of our existence.

Thus, the thrust of Paul’s prayer - strengthening through the Spirit, Christ living in us, being filled with the fullness of God. In all these ways Paul begs God to enable us to step out of this poverty and into the full experience of he has opened up to us in Christ. This invitation to live “far beyond all that we could ask or imagine” is the only way for us to live into this “glory” God offers us.

And yet we continually draw back. We stop at the point of our willingness to ask and our capacity to imagine because . . ., well, there are lots of reasons. You know your own heart and can supply your own reason. And in a sense, it doesn’t really matter why we do it. That we do it is enough – enough for us and enough for Paul. He knows the secret to life with God is not in figuring out what we do and why. Rather it lies in what God is able and willing to do and why he does it. And the answer is love – rich, lavish, full, unending, better than we can ever imagine, far more abundant than we can manage to ask for – “love so amazing so divine, it demands my soul, my life, my all.”

And that is what gives glory to God, in the church, in Christ Jesus, now and forever. Amen.


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