Wrongdoing and How We Respond

For these first few weeks of August, our only scripture texts will be from the Letter to the Ephesians. Most scholars believe the letter was not written by Paul, but by an imitator of Paul, one who was likely a member of one of Paul’s churches. The letter may have been written in response to a crisis in a church, and took Paul’s name as a means of claiming authority. In the earliest Greek manuscripts, the letter is not addressed to a specific community, so it may have been sent to a number of congregations.

Much of the letter directs people of faith to live in ways that distinguish themselves from the rest of society. We might imagine that they lived in a world of dishonesty, slander, frustration, and anger. The writer begins by telling people to be truthful because, “we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). Together, they are members of one body. The writer says that it is okay to be angry God makes space for anger in our world. How we respond to our anger distinguishes us as Christ followers.

Because we believe that God doesn’t keep track of our wrongdoings, we need to understand our own need for forgiveness. If we get stuck in thinking only about our wrongdoing, we might lose sight of who we are meant to be. We are redeemed and called to live our lives as forgiven people, to be the living word of God.

It appears that the church addressed in the letter to the Ephesians was having trouble living the word there was “evil talk,” plenty of negative emotions flying around, they were even asked not to “grieve the Holy Spirit.” Church at its best is a place of nourishment and transformation, at its worst it is judgmental and intolerant. When we claim to be members of God’s family, we are called to be imitators of God to look like God to those around us to be forgiving and loving to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, wrangling, slander, malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted. In worship on Sunday morning, we will practice being what we claim by being kind and tender-hearted, even in difficult things. This practice will be a primer for the days of right living ahead.
See you in church!

Go gently into the world, secure in the knowledge that you are the beloved children of God, claiming your place with the faithful of all the ages and doing good to all those you meet. Let kindness be your companion and guide.

Shalom, Pr. Barb

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