Be Imitators of God
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 4:31-5:2).
Watching the inauguration yesterday, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, and reflecting about the nature of our nation today, the words of Paul’s writing to the Ephesians remind me how fragile we are even as followers of Christ. The early Christians struggled to resolve for unity, forgiveness of one another and love, not as a nation but as a congregation and community of God’s people. This struggle is characterized with danger, self-pride and evil to the good of the whole, the body of Christ. Now over two millenniums it seems as we have not moved beyond that.
What is there that we need to do to overcome it? It would be a false sense of hope that our governments, leaders, even the new president, and new policies will make a big difference for the healing and unity of our community and people. I think Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians Christians to “be imitators of God” remains the basic principle for overcoming our struggle. To live in love and to love and forgive as Christ had loved and forgiven us would be the journey we need to intentionally take toward healing and overcoming our struggle. In our response it is no longer “my will but yours be done.” It begins with us in our faith to trust and to live in the will of the One who we believe and the Author of love, peace and unity for all.
Lord, we pray today, honoring your love and grace and the example you set before us in Christ. Help us to love one another, to live in peace with one another, and to see others as more important than ourselves… that all people may know we are your disciples and believe in you. For the glory of your name and your church. Amen.