Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Last week I preached at a church on a topic which I believe is relevant with this text from Ephesians as well. The theme was about connection… “connecting to our past, present and future.” Learning how to connect well with our past and future will help us to live well in our present. The fighting against the pandemic is not yet over. Using Paul’s terminology, “the days are evil” resonate with me for the pandemic. Many people today are living in fear of the Delta Variant which is slowly crouching into our world. Paul’s advice would be well for us to consider.
The Ephesians in Paul’s letter were Gentile Christians who were converted to Christianity. They were living in a world where many pagan religions and philosophies were thriving, especially the cult and trade which revolved around temple worship of the goddess Artemis (Acts 19:23f). Paul was afraid that they would fall back into them and other secular influences while he was away and in prison, and gave them his advice, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise…” As the pandemic is still with us, “the days are evil.” We will be well to consider Paul’s advice to the Ephesian Christians: be wise, make the most of the time (beware of the risk and take precaution), and follow the will of God.
As United Methodists, we are to be wise Christians. We look at life with many lenses to make our decision and consider how to live our life. We learn to do good, do no harm, and love God. We learn to see things through scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. The message I preached last week was about learning to connect our past and future to our present. Our past is what we had experienced and learned. Our future is what we can see coming and get ready for. Both past and future affect our present, our will and actions. If we can connect well in both connections we will be wise and do well in our present.
Loving and eternal God, I give you thanks for this day and the life I have, and for your church. As the pandemic is with us the days are still evil. Have mercy on me and all whom I love and care for, and all your people on earth today. Teach us to be wise about how we should live today. Show us your love and your healing power that all may be well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.