Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 199: Proverbs 10-12; Psalm 13; Ephesians 3

God's (Secret) Plan
Simple enough...God wants to be known, and to be known by us. By us, that means all, and not some. For secret plans, I can't imagine one that is as uncomplicated as all that. Yet, how often do we complicate it when as the Church we seek to not only make the good news known to people (as Paul is attempting in laboring amongst the Gentiles), but add to that proclamation at the same time we ask of folks that they conform to the standards of an earthly, human church that quite often falls short of the higher calling we have in Christ Jesus. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and this chapter, is succinct: the secret plan is that the good news proclaimed to the world is that all are to be named as "co-heirs" of the kingdom of God. That naming is accomplished because we are all given access to God through the person and resurrection of Jesus.

The problem for us? As believers, we gather and celebrate that knowledge...but we also see others who don't yet know the blessing. That means that we are back to the same inside/outside thing that Paul is challenging between Jew and Gentile, between slave and free. Even as the Gospel is proclaimed, the cautionary tale of exclusion that humans too often indulge in begins to loop again.

Rather than thinking that we can, once and for all, correct that tendency amongst us, why not admit it and strive to work through it into a more viable version of what Paul's vision asks of us. Knowing that we will default to a tribal  protectionism, let's give a shot at seeing it for what it is, a desire for self-protection, self-preservation and self-propagation and allow the Christ to take care of protecting, preserving and propagating his awareness of the kingdom of God in us versus the version we too often use, a shadow of the true one given to us, the one that gives life. That seems a better course, instead of opting for the one that just offers reassurance.

Easy enough for Paul. He has his heavenly vision, his personal theophany with Jesus. We simply have his testimony.

Yet from that testimony, there really is an invitation to both wisdom and life, renewed, in God.

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