You Talking to Me?

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I’m reading Ephesians, which is a book toward the back of the Bible. It’s written by the Apostle Paul- apostle meaning “messenger.” There are four Gospels in the New Testament that are probably most familiar: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. These Gospels tell the story of Jesus- his life and death, as well as his ministry and teaching. Other Books, further back in the Bible, such as Ephesians, explain what the Jesus story means. Many are letters or “Epistles” that Paul writes to various churches, outside of Israel, in the early days of the Church as he spreads the story of Jesus and the meaning of his life. Paul writes these letters within living memory of Jesus- some he composes from behind the walls of a Roman prison. Through his many trials, including imprisonment, beatings and under the constant threat of death, Paul remains categorically hopeful.  Many Christians, me included, believe that the Bible, while written by the hand of human beings, like Paul, is composed through the spirit and intention of God. Paul thought so too. That’s why we refer to the Bible as “The Word of God.” God’s words to us and for us. He doesn’t leave us without guidance or instructions for living. Or help understating it either. Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is “on call” to help us apply the ancient words of God in our lives today, which is not always easy 2,000 years later.  How do we access this help? We ask and we wait.

So, I’m “stuck” reading Ephesians. I decide to switch Bibles- and yes that is allowed. I pick up “The Message,” by Eugene Peterson, which calls itself “The Bible in Contemporary Language,” which it is. I recommend it. It’s easy to comprehend and therefore helpful. I don’t know why I turned to this Bible translation today, after probably 10 years of it gathering dust, but opening it was a revelation and a blessing. This passage from Ephesians One, which was difficult to absorb in the Bible I was reading, translates here into a clear and beautiful message of inclusion and hope and love. This is Ephesians One from the “Message”: “Long before God laid down the earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by love. Long, long ago, he decided to adopt us into this family through Jesus Christ. He wanted us to enter in the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son.”  

It’s clear to me who the “us” is here- who God has adopted into his family. The us, is you and me. That’s why we call it “The Good News.” And that’s why we say Happy Easter! Until next time, stay safe, be brave and keep walking toward the light. The song pairing is “Lighthouse.” 

Lighthouse
The sun rises,
my heart is clean
You are with me Lord
in a beautiful dream

and then I’m drifting
out here on my own
and then I’m lost Lord
so far from home

You are my lighthouse
You are my Lord
You are my lighthouse
You are my Lord
You are my beacon
You’re never out of sight
You are my lighthouse
Your rooms are filled with light

Up ahead now
there’s a peaceful shore
You are with me Lord
I don’t need anymore

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