Ellen Loudon

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foundation litlle service

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Last night I led the Foundation little service. It was a bit of a last minute call to lead but that was fine. I felt that I couldn’t do anything too technically flash – really pushed for prep time and putting a presentation together seemed inappropriately. I felt I wanted to offer something far more meditative and reflective. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians came to mind as a way to reflect on how Christian living should be. The letter has been referred to as ‘the Gospel of the Church’ and it offers a blueprint for ‘God’s new society’. The focus of the service was Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

I tried to draw out the five key words:
· Strength
· Love
· Knowledge
· Fullness
· Power

Strength
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

This part of the prayer serves both as a reminder of our status as the people of God, but it also acts as a call for more strength, more power through his spirit. It reminds us that we should not remain complacent but need to be pressing on, moving deeper into our faith.

Love
rooted and grounded in love.

The purpose of this strengthening is not to simply to prepare us for bad stuff or to protect us from evil. In this prayer it is to root and ground us in love. Love for each other and love for God. The two metaphors being combined here – the one of gardening and the other architectural – serve to demonstrate that the unseen cause of our stability will be the same: LOVE. Our love is to be both radical and a fundamental nature of our experience.

Knowledge
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge

The writer now shifts from our love (in which we are to be rooted and is our foundation) to Christ’s love (which he prays we may know). Indeed he acknowledges that we need strength or power for both – strength to love and power to comprehend Christ’s love. What is significant here is that this knowledge is only accessible ‘with all the saints’. Alone, we can know something of the love of Jesus. But the grasp of it is bound to be limited to our own experience. It takes the whole people of God to understand the whole love of God. Even then there is mystery in the phrase ‘know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge’ – it seems that this love is beyond the breadth and length and height and depth for all the saints combined to comprehend and know. This unknowable love is what keeps us exploring the riches of Gods grace!

Fullness
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

This is one of those phrases that appear to be in the continuous present. That is, in order for us to be full we need to be continuously filled up – filled up by the Spirit with strength, love and knowledge. We can’t sit back and rest on past spiritual experiences we need to be constantly sitting under Gods spiritual tap – being filled up day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute.

Power
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Just a couple of words of warning before we end: firstly, if we pray like this (with strength, love and knowledge) things will happen, because this is powerful stuff. It’s not the power of government and kings, the rich and famous, or leaders, teachers or those who are clever. This is Gods power that is at work within us – it is for everyone, no matter what our status is. We all can pray this prayer for each other.

Secondly, don’t be limited by what you can imagine will happen or by what you have the desire to ask for. If you shift beyond this you will accomplish abundantly far more. Don’t limit yourself to your own capacity.

Third warning: This is not just for you or me or us. This prayer is forever. This is for glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. We are important, we are significant but we are only part of the picture. We are called to be visionaries. Seers. Prophets.

Can you pray this prayer? Lets say it together and see what happens…

I had made some paper people – with the names of each of the members of Foundation on them. So, we all took a few of the paper people and prayed the prayer for the Ephesians for these people. Silently we thought of each person. We lingered on this time of prayer for a while and lit candles for each other and the Foundation community. Everyone at the service took some of the paper people home to continue to pray for them throughout the week.

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Written by ellenloudon

July 16, 2007 at 8:21 am

Posted in foundation, religion

One Response

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  1. how wonderful… wish I had been able to make it. you’re a star! x

    bigdaddystevieB

    July 16, 2007 at 6:39 pm


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