Filled with the Fullness of God
The whole letter to the Ephesians invites the church and individuals in it to re-imagine themselvesâ€¦ To see themselves in a way different from how the culture perceived themâ€¦or even how the church perceived itself IN the culture.Â
The culture was Empire- Roman Empire, and no matter how much weâ€™ve read about the pax Romana or the incredible works of roads and aqueduct systems, it was still empire. It was occupation enforced by military rule. The early churches in Asia Minor were tiny enclaves of community in the context of an occupied country; fledgling communities in a new faith not yet adopted by the Roman Empire.Â Times of persecution alternated with times of tolerance, depending upon the whim of the emperor and local authorities.Â They were certainly not part of the mainstream culture.
Always in reading the letters, we need to realize that we are only getting one side of a conversation. But we can intuit from what the writer says, some of the issues they might have been facing. From reading this letter, Iâ€™d guess that a key issue was low self-esteem, low sense of self and community worth, perhaps even a crisis of identity. What does it mean to follow Christ in these crazy times we live in? I may be projecting, but I donâ€™t think so.
Because over and over again in this letter,Â the writer calls them to their strength, reminds them of their core identity, and their spiritual power. The writer reminds the people that they are not â€œnobodiesâ€ They are nothing less than the living embodiment of the Spirit and power of Christ. The writer of this letter must have been the original community counselor; or coach.Â Â
There is a strong Christ mysticism in this letter; a strong sense of being One in the living Spirit and resurrection power of Christ.Â And this spiritual power, in this letter, is archetypal, rooted in creation itself. In an earlier part of the letter the author says, that â€˜Itâ€™s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living forâ€™ (Ephesians Chapter 1), and prays that they might see exactly what God is calling them to do, and to grasp the utter extravagance of Godâ€™s work in us, endless energy, boundless strength So that is the context in which our reading of today speaks to us.Â Let me read again from the NRSV, just a few lines of that reading again before we move into a meditation:
â€œI pray that, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through Godâ€™s Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehendâ€¦what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.â€
Letâ€™s take a time now to allow those images to take root our souls as we move into meditation.Â Shut your eyes as you feel comfortable and give yourself the gift of relaxation and sacred space.
Letâ€™s take a time to Pauseâ€¦to breathâ€¦to connect with our deeper selves.Â Â Let your body relaxâ€¦Allow yourself to let go..Become aware of your breathing..This life breath there from the beginning of time.Â With each breath in let your body receive Godâ€™s grace and goodness,Â With each breath outâ€¦Let your body, mind and spirit release what needs to be let go for you to be fully presentâ€¦
Breathe in the breath of lifeâ€¦Breathe out stress and tension
Breathe in deep peace. Breathe out anxiety and fear.
Breathe in hope, breath out despair
Let the breath of life centre you in your sacred centre
Let the breath of life still your soul
Let the breath of life open you to your Holy Ground.
In that place I invite you to imagine that you are experiencing the prayer of one who is intimately connected to God; so connected that you sense that their prayer is indeed Godâ€™s prayer and desire for youâ€¦.
Experience the power of the prayer that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through Godâ€™s Spiritâ€¦.Allow yourself to open to the strength of Godâ€™s Spirit, the power of Godâ€™s spirit pouring into your inner beingâ€¦bathing your inner being, the deepest part of yourself with Holy power, with Godâ€™s unconditional love, with Godâ€™s intimate and powerful presence.Â Let your inner being vibrate with the energy of the power of this Holy Spirit so that it may ground you as you engage life.
Experience the power of the prayer that Christ may dwell in your hearts.Â Bring your focus to your heart centre and allow the love of Christ to fill your heartâ€¦Allow the healing power of Christ to fill your heartâ€¦Allow the compassion of Christ to fill your heartâ€¦Allow the courage of Christ to fill your heartÂ Let your heart centre vibrate with the energy of Christ so that it may lead you as you engage life.
Experience the power of the prayer that you might be rooted and grounded in love. Image what it would be like to feel yourself deeply connected,Â rooted,Â grounded in loveâ€¦Imagine the love of God flowing from your roots, moving upward through your whole being filling it with loveâ€¦Allow that love to nurture and strengthen every cell of your bodyâ€¦every pattern of thinking, and feeling and remembering.Â Feel the power and healing of being rooted and grounded in Godâ€™s love. And experience the power of the prayer thatÂ you might be able to comprehend, to know with heart, mind, body and spirit the breadth and length and height and depth of that loveâ€¦Â to know the love of Christ that surpasses our human knowledge.
Experience the power of the prayer that you may be filled with all the fullness of Godâ€¦Imagine the desire of God that you might be filled with all the fullness of Godâ€¦Sacred Life who desires to dwell in you in all its fullnessâ€¦Allow yourself to open to that fullness of God
Rest in this fullness of God that God desires for you
Rest in being rooted and grounded in Godâ€™s love
Rest in the knowledge of Christ dwelling in your heart; the love, the compassion the healing, the courage of Christ animating your heart.
Rest in Godâ€™s desire to strengthen you in your inner being through the power of Godâ€™s Spirit.Â
And when you leave this place to go back into the world, live your lives out of that fullness of God, rooted and grounded in Godâ€™s love.