Our message today is by Reta Robertson, Lay Leader.
A LETTER TO THE CHURCHES
(Based on Ephesians 4:1-16)
(Many scholars assume the author of this letter was someone other than the apostle Paul, although it still appears to convey his thoughts and theology. For the flow of this story, the name “Paul” is used.)
The prison cell was damp and cold. Paul had been sitting on the hard stone, composing his letter to the churches for some time now and his body was feeling stiff and uncomfortable. He decided to take a break and stretch for a moment. He rolled his head, neck, and shoulders, then began to stand to his feet. But before he could fully stand, he fell over, down onto the hard stones.
Paul groaned and chuckled to himself. His entire right leg had gone numb from sitting so long. He grinned as he stood up again, and a prickling, stinging sensation flooded into his leg as the feeling returned. It gave him an idea.
He had been trying to explain to the church that, even though they had their share of differences, they needed to come together and combine their unique gifts and talents to serve one purpose, to become a unified family in Christ.
Paul wiggled his toes a few times and began to write.
I beg you, to live and behave in a way that fits people who have received such wonderful blessings. Be humble and gentle and patient with each other, overlooking each other’s faults out of love. Do your best to be united, held together by the Spirit in peace with one another.
Think of us all as different parts of one body. We all share the same Spirit and are all called to share the same wonderful future, but Christ has given us each our own special abilities. Christ fills all things from the lowest parts of the earth to the highest parts of the heavens. For some f us, Christ makes us great teachers, others great writers or speakers. We all use our different gifts and abilities to do different things. We can all work together to build the Body of Christ, the church!
Together we will grow in our faith, just as our bodies grow into adult bodies, strong and confident. The church will come to understand Christ in a grown-up way, and Christ will be the head of our Body as we grow, leading us, joining us as we work together. We will be one church body, working in love.
For discussion: Imagine you/we were the community receiving the letter.
- What would your initial reaction be to this letter?
- How would you look at your Christian community differently after receiving this letter?