Lectionary: 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14; Psalm 111; (Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34:9-14); Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58
The readings today have a theme of ‘living wisely’.
In 1 Kings 2, King David passes away and his son Solomon ascends to the throne. He approaches God and asks for help and God grants his wish for ‘a wise and discerning mind’.
The theme continues through to the New Testament book where St Paul is writing to the Ephesian christians living there. Ephesus was a city of about 400,000 people known for its amphitheater and library but especially famous for the temple to the goddess Artemis. The temple was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
The purpose of the letter to Ephesians isn’t to address problematic issues but rather to remind the christians that there is something fundamentally different about them and how they are to live.
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine,which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:
speaking to one another
in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making music
from your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for everything
to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The Ephesians lived in a culture of wealth and idol worship (like we do?). Paul simply wants to emphasize that, for followers of Jesus, their orientation must move from one that is human-centred to one that is God-centred. They were loved and valued and the logical progression was for them to be mature and wise in their daily lives.
I’m embarrassed to say that christians don’t always move into wisdom and maturity and many carry the name even while they continue to see the world through strictly human eyes.
Meditate on these two classic Scripture verses from Ephesians:
‘God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.’ – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT).
‘For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.’ – Ephesians 6:12 (HCSB)
How do these verses speak to you?
How do they orient you toward something more?
Lord, be with us this day,
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us. – (St. Patrick)