I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, 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. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. -Ephesians 3:18-21
These words from Ephesians 3 have always captured me. There is something poetic about “breadth and length and height and depth,” of Christ’s love even if it a mouthful to speak. The expanse of God’s ability (abundantly far more) is almost absurd. When I read these words, I feel like Paul must be giddy with excitement. He is often verbose, but in these three verses he outdoes himself.
Ephesians is a book about the church at its best. Paul reminds us that we are chosen by God as adopted sons and daughters. He proclaims with certainty that this adoption means that all who belong to God are one family, even if our earthly divisions belie that truth. He declares that the church is the way this reality is best expressed on earth and that we are the only body Christ has in the world today. These verses constitute a portion of Paul’s heartfelt prayer for the church in Ephesus, and through these words, I offer my prayer to the Father for the congregation of Sea Island Presbyterian Church and the church universal.
As the lazy days of summer dwindle to an end, I pray that you may bask a few minutes more in the broad, long, tall, and deep love of Christ that surpasses knowledge but not experience. I pray that you might find yourself renewed in the knowledge of this love until you are filled with all the fullness of God. As we look toward another fall and begin planning all of the activity it includes, I pray that you will expect much from God. Too often our expectations are low and our dreams too small. We hope for little to be avoid being disappointed. But Paul promises that God is not only able to more than we imagine, but abundantly far more! The leaders of this congregation have been busy in these late summer weeks preparing teachers and curriculum, singing new songs, and envisioning new opportunities for mission and service. We are all confident that God will use this congregation – use you – to accomplish even more than our wildest imaginations.
God does not do this, however, by magic. It is God’s power at work within us that enables God to accomplish so much. As you enjoy these last days of summer and delight in that wondrous love of God, I pray that you will discover how God’s power is at work in you, calling and nudging and urging you to do God’s work in your home, your neighborhood, your church, your school, or your workplace. The fall is around the corner. Go ahead . . . dream big!