Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:16-21
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
As our garden comes out of its winter slumbers it is interesting to see how the flowers that had completely disappeared suddenly reappear. The snowdrops were the first to make it, followed by the daffodils and primroses. And the shrubs, which were only recently bare and leafless, now have green leaves and new growth.
The re-emergence of all of the plants depends on how well they were established in the ground last year; whether their root system enabled them to survive droughts of the previous summer and the cold and frosts of winter, and whether the soil was rich enough to nourish them.
Surviving the changing seasons of life for the Christian is also, according to Paul, about being well-rooted and established. In our case it is about being rooted and established, not in a physical place or in a theological understanding but rooted and established in the love of God.
Good theology is important, and Paul’s letters are full of great theological arguments, but at the centre of Paul’s teaching is always love; the love of God for each one of us.
It seems here that Paul is struggling with a paradox. He prays that we will grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God for us, whilst at the same time being fully aware that this love actually surpasses knowledge.
God’s love for you is wider than the widest ocean and deeper than the deepest sea, it higher than the tallest mountain and stretches further than the farthest star. It is there for you in the heat and in the cold, in the drought and in the flood. Although you will never fully grasp the extent of the love of God for you this side of eternity, you can start to discover a bit more each day; and re-reading this prayer of Paul’s for the Christians in Ephesus could be a good way to start.
Lord Jesus, you dwell in my heart through faith, help me to put my roots deep into you, that I may be rooted and established in your love, and that you may be glorified in my life, and in the church.
Here is love, vast as the ocean