In rural Australia – in fact, right across Australia – we are very keen on “identity” – who we are, what drives us, where we are going, where we fit in life. God is pretty keen on identity too – and Paul writes Ephesians with that in mind. As we move through Ephesians, God lovingly draws us back to know the confidence of who we are as his people, in this world, moved by his purposes.
Today we start a new series, “Walking as I Am”, which has been prepared by Bernard Gabbutt. Bernard is a minister at Narrabri Anglican Church in north west NSW. He is collaborating with Bible Society Australia on a series of sermon resources for rural pastors and churches.
Reflection: How do you define yourself? How would you describe your identity? Paul is writing a letter to a group of Christians he helped establish in Ephesus, about seven years earlier. It is 60-62AD. He is under house arrest in Rome. They live in a bustling cosmopolitan port town, with many different pressures on their identity – the temple on the hill to the Greek goddess Artemis, the Roman currency in their possession, their birth family. Paul lays before them two ideas that trump all these – ‘God’s will’, which drives the whole universe (just think of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9!); and being ‘in Christ Jesus’, the most desirable postcode in the world. In laying down these two ‘identity-markers’, Paul wants his readers to consider deeply who they are. How do you define yourself?
Question: In thirty words (the same number of words Paul used in the original Greek), try to write down your identity…
Prayer: Dear God, thank you that you intervene in this world, that your actions affect our identity. Thank you that your actions give us peace and grace. Amen.