Year B Pentecost 12 (11/8)

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Ephesians is an Epistle addressed to a painfully divided church. Jews and Christians who were former arch enemies, have been bought together in Christ. So previous hurts and disagreements sometimes form an underlying barrier. Now this new church has the challenge of being church.

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter four begins with the call for the community members to follow their calling, not for personal fulfillment or gain but for the sake of unity in Christ. God’s call then is to be the body of Christ. Paul writes to these young Christians (4:14); the only way that past hurts, divisions, and prejudice can be overcome is to look to Christ who bring peace and unity.

This week’s reading Ephesian 4:25-5:2 continues the call and begins by telling the church “To put away falsehood, to speak truth with neighbours, for we are members of one another”. (NRSV) Paul writes to the new church in Ephesus, that now they are one body, and so they should be able to see the difference in each other.

In some translations “to put away falsehood’, is translated as: ”to strip off”. This is a reference to baptismal practice, where old clothing is literally stripped off in order to put on a new white robe, symbolic of the new identity through Christ. Their identity has been changed, and these new Christians able to live new lives. And so, in today’s section of chapter 4:25 and into chapter 5:2, Paul gives guidance on how to live those new lives. Off with the old and in with the new.

It would be easy to focus on verses 31 and 32 as a set of rules.  However, there the writer’s favourite word ‘therefore’ in chapter 5:1. ’Therefore’ helps us not to only focus on the list of rules, but as a response to following the way of Christ… … living as beloved children… … we live the new life that can put away destructive behaviours and words and enable us to be kind to others.

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Written and Compiled by

Rev Beth Nicholls

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