|I have preached on Ephesians 4:1-3 quite a few times recently. It describes the pathway to maintain unity of the Spirit in the church. It’s a simple message, really, requiring us to interact with humility, gentleness, patience and love.
St. Paul prefaces this instruction by saying we ought to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” (v. 1). The nature of our calling is described in chapters 1-3. There is a significant force behind these words.
Of all the things that could be said from chapters 1-3, Ephesians 1:22-23 stands out. We are told Christ is given as the “head over all things” – he “fills all in all.” If we choose to use modern scientific terms, Jesus Christ fills all (every atom; every atomic particle)…in all (every object in the universe)!
I’ve been reading and thinking that God is everywhere present filling all things for a year. Last August I received an “extraordinary imagination” of this reality. I was driving my car at the time, and almost drove off the road! It was a gift of insight I could not manufacture myself.
But incredibly, the Church (!) is described as “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” We, the Church, as the “body of Christ” are his visible presence – not only in the world we see, but in the universe itself.
How vital that we take unity very seriously! When we break up into factions, we “disintegrate” the one who ties everything together. When one person grabs onto power and “lords over” others, this person is displacing Christ, who alone has capacity to fill all in all. When we undermine the unity of the Spirit by pride, bullying, impatience and hatred, we attack the very fabric of our existence.
If we are the fullness of Christ in the world, and we refuse to follow his commands – in this case, the command to maintain the unity of the Spirit – we discredit and shame the One who saves us.
But if we determine and struggle – as the Church – to obey his commands, we are the very presence of Christ to our otherwise lost and dying world.
It takes a vision to really “get it”. I can’t say I have the same level of vision that St. Paul and others have had, but it’s a glimpse. I believe this is what St. Paul could see in his prayer of Eph. 3:14-19. I invite you to meditate on this until it grabs you as a spiritual insight. It makes all the difference in the world!