the weblog of Alan Knox

Imagine all the people…

Posted by on Mar 15, 2007 in community, fellowship, love, scripture | 4 comments

My family is studying Ephesians. Now, I know that some of you who know me well are laughing, because I LOVE to study Ephesians – it seems that I am ALWAYS studying Ephesians. Anyway, this is actually for a class assignment for which I have recruited my family to help.

We are supposed to read through Ephesians (and 1 Peter later) and answer the following question: “What do these texts say about faith as a way of life?”

As we were reading through chapter 2 of Ephesians, we noticed the emphasis on how God had created one new people from the Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:14-16). This new people was to live as a family (household) and citizens of a new kingdom (Eph 2:19). Again, in chapter 3, Paul says that when Jews and Gentiles lives as one people (the church) they demonstrate the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). Paul also reminds us again that we are one family named for God, such that God is the patriarch of the family (Eph 3:14-15). He then calls us to strength, knowledge, and love (Eph 3:16-19).

We discussed how difficult it is for us to live with and love people who are different from us. Certainly the Jews and Gentiles found this kind of life difficult. Yet, God expects us to live as a family and to love one another – and not just any family, but His family – and not just with people who are like us, but with all believers, even if they are very different from us. How do we do that?

So, we did a quick exercise that really helped me, and hopefully it helped them. Maybe it will help you as well. Here is the exercise: Think of someone who is completely different from you. Think about their race, ethnicity, education level, economic level, hygiene, clothing, housing, language, culture, etc. Picture that person in your mind, and ask yourself, “How can I possibly love that person and live together as family with that person.” Then, read the end of Ephesians 3 below:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)

Certainly this passages applies to more than our living together in love with those who are different from us. But, it does apply to this as well. Because of God’s power at work in us, He is able to love someone through us that we would never love on our own.


4 Comments

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  1. 3-16-2007

    For me, what you are writing about here is indicative of one of the great blessings of being involved in specifically cross-cultural ministry. You learn to stretch yourself, and identify with others who come from different backgrounds. The congregation with which we are currently involved in Madrid is made up of people from over 30 different nationalities, with over 50% of the attendees being non-Spaniards. Sometimes, as a result, things don’t flow quite as smoothly as they do in more mono-cultural congregations. But, I think the blessing received from the multi-cultural dynamic far outweighs the possible disadvantages.

  2. 3-16-2007

    David,

    Thank you for sharing from a “multi-cultural” context. Our family continued this conversation with other friends last night. I would love to be part of that kind of a varied group like that. And, like you said, there would be disadvantages – and it would be difficult – but the blessings would be incredible!

    -Alan

  3. 3-16-2007

    Alan, I so want to reengage in your blog but I have been unbelievably busy. I will again i hoep soon. And, I also wanted to get over and see David’s series. Ugh. :) Alas.

  4. 3-16-2007

    Bryan,

    Come back whenever you can. There are more important things than blogs.

    -Alan