Reading – Ephesians 3:14-19
Feast of the Holy Family
This is one of the densest, most layered readings I have encountered in my evening prayer thus far; it’s a veritable Death by Chocolate Trifle of Scripture! (Did I mention I have a huge sweet tooth?)
Paul kneels before God, recognizing Him as wholly Other, and yet addresses God as Father, understanding that God at the same time is intensely imminent and personal with all creation. (Martin Buber discusses this paradox of God in his most famous work, I and Thou.)
Paul prays to God not for himself but for others. He asks that God pour out blessings on the community at Ephesus and that the community in turn perceives and accepts these gifts.
“Every family in heaven and on earth” is named by God, valued, nurtured, and guided toward communion with their Creator. God, the paragon of family, of community, of self-giving and self-affirming love, cares for all families and seeks their fulfillment, from the families of bacteria living near hydrothermal vents far beneath the ocean waves to the grand family of galaxies and intergalactic groups in the cosmos. Family begins and finds its glorification in God.
The love of Christ surpasses knowledge as part of God’s ultimately mysterious nature, and yet we can perceive, experience, proclaim, and even “know” this love. We find fulfillment and approach transfiguration in accepting and exploring the creative tension within the kenotic love of God exemplified in Jesus that always lies outside our grasp yet forms the core of our existence and experience.
“The fullness of God” fills us without being diminished or diminishing us. Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions affirm the strange yet wonderful paradox that we are not separated individuals but neither are we variations on the One to be eventually immersed into its being. We are intricately embedded in and connected with all of creation and especially with God, yet God as Three in One and One in Three still celebrates our individual nature within the frame of the family.
So…yeah, I found a lot of fascinating points for reflection in this reading. I’ll have to return to it at some point and see what else God has for me to explore. Thank you for this reading, Lord, and thank you for my family and all families. May we seek to support and encourage families of love after the example of the Holy Family and in the image of you, the Source of family. ~