Friday, February 19, 2010

We've Got the Power

A lot of times, when I read a bible passage, I blow through it as if I'm at a buffet.  I move right along, looking for the good stuff that tastes best: Morsels of the Word that encourage me, inspire me, comfort me - whatever it feels like I want at the moment.  I doubt that's a good way to read scripture.  What's missed are the most nutritious parts of the biblical meal.

There's a little appetizer in Ephesians this week that is easily passed over.  It's this:
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 
Ephesians 1:9-10
Did you catch that?  The "mystery of God's will" is that God is in the process of bringing all things on "heaven and earth... together" under Christ.  In other words, that's where everything is headed.  This world isn't going down the tubes.  It might look that way, but it isn't.  God's bringing heaven and earth together and that means that his recreative power is constantly being released all over the place.  It's kind of funny that we have a hard time seeing that since it goes on all around us and we take it for granted.  Just this week here in Oregon we had a super nice spell of weather and the blossoms started exploding on the cherry and plum trees.  Grass began to grow.  Leaves poked out of dead looking tree branches.  "That's just Spring," we say.  It's also part of the regeneration and recreation that God builds into nature. It's like he's tapping us on the shoulder and saying, "See? Heaven and earth are joining.  All things will become new."  Paul says the Spirit of God is the beginning of our own regeneration - part of heaven implanted into you and me, and yet there's more to come.

Back in Ephesians, after Paul points to this unification of heaven and earth, he prays that the "eyes of (our) heart may be enlightened."  Hmm.  That's different. Picture your heart with little plastic goggly eyes peering out between your ribs.  What are the "eyes of our heart?"

This week I'm finishing up our short series of messages on prayer by looking at this prayer of Paul's.  What strikes me most as we've studied some key prayers in the New Testament is how different they are than the way I normally pray.  I guess that shouldn't be so surprising - I'm no Paul or Jesus!  Yet their prayers are dramatically different than what most of us pray.  Part of that difference is due to them praying for many people, not just for an individual or a time constrained situation.  But their prayers are also different because they think differently; they have a larger perspective and a bigger view of what's going on around them.  In other words, it seems that reality is so much more real then mine.  The substance of Paul's prayer and what it means for our lives today is what we'll explore in the sermon.
- Curtis