Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Being Rooted and Grounded in Love

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner being; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Many churches have a tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.  It is kept for priests and others to take Communion to the sick, as well as serving as a focus for devotions to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament.  Since we in the Independent Sacramental Movement do not, for the most part, have church buildings of our own, many of us reserve the Sacrament in our own homes, so that we may experience the sacramental presence of Christ, as well as that those of us who are not ordained can receive Communion daily.

In a very real sense, all of us are called to be tabernacles once we have received Communion.  The act of receiving Communion should not be thought of as something that happens for a few minutes on Sunday, or even daily, but rather, having received Communion, we should so live our lives that we serve as tabernacles in the world, so that others may see Christ in us.

As Christ takes up residence in our hearts, Christ’s presence transforms us.  This marvelous passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians gives us a good look into that process. 

We were given the Holy Spirit in baptism, and Paul prays that our inner beings may be strengthened by might by the Spirit.  And Christ takes up his dwelling in our hearts when we receive by faith in the Eucharist.

Through the power of the Spirit, and by the indwelling of Christ, we are then “rooted and grounded in love”.  We cannot hope to have any lasting fruits of our faith if we are not deeply rooted and grounded.  Too many Christians go about, their actions goofy and ungrounded, because they have not taken the time to pray, the time to be still and know that God is God, the time to allow the love of God root them and ground them.  It is only as we experience this rooting and grounding in love that our actions can begin to blossom forth, and bear witness to the love of God for a sinful and suffering world.

As we allow Christ within us to root us and ground us, we find that our understanding of things will change – we will begin to comprehend what is the breadth and length and depth and height – we will begin to transcend our own selfish understandings of things and our own preoccupation with our own problems, and begin to have a love for all of God’s creation, and an understanding of both its need for redemption, and the love and power to redeem it God has given through Christ – and also understanding that because we are the body of Christ on earth today, and that through the power of Christ and the power of the Spirit, we will be able to bring that love to those who need it.  We will understand that the homeless person – the working poor – the immigrant whose religion, language, and culture are different from ours – the people whose sex, gender, and sexuality differs from ours, and whose families differ from ours – are created in the image of God, and that we are called to work for justice for them.  And this understanding cannot come to us by ourselves; no, we understand this “with the saints” – with each other, in the community of the church.

And when we are rooted and grounded in love, by the Christ within, and understand the need of the world for God’s love, and God’s love for the world through Christ, and our call to bring that love of Christ to the world, together with one another – then we will be filled with the fullness of God – our understanding of the empowerment through Christ will begin to manifest itself in our lives, in works of charity – in reconciled and reconciling communities – in all of our actions.

This transformation begins in worship – in the passage, Paul talks about bowing his knees to the Father – and our transformation is begun in our baptism, and continued in prayer, scripture, and sharing in the Eucharist in our worshipping community – and it is only appropriate that as we are transformed and sent out to do God’s work in the world, so we are drawn back to worship, in that wonderful doxology:  Now unto the One that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto that One be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

(Preached at St. Mary of Grace parish, Media, PA, July 29, 2012)

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