God Plays The Long Game
Today's daily lectionary comes to us from Ephesians 2:4-7 which reads:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.The Apostle Paul sure had a way with words. Although sometimes it's a little challenging to understand exactly what he's talking about.
Ephesians 2 is one of those moments where it's a little hard to follow what Paul means when he says things like:
"... even when we were dead through our trespasses [God] made us alive together with Christ..."
"... raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places..."
Paul had a particular vision for what had transpired when Jesus was crucified, died, buried and then ultimately rose again. For Paul, the Resurrection was the ultimate moment of all history---the singularity of theological understanding.
Here's another way of putting this. Paul believed that God was outside of time, and as a result God already saw the end of the story. God already sees us raised to new life, beyond mortality, beyond time.
God sees us as the people we were created to be before we forgot who we were.
And the reason God sees us this way is because of the eternal, universal Christ who permeates all of Creation including you and me.
We are "in Christ" according to Paul, because all things are in Christ, all things are created through the Christ, who existed from the beginning along with the Creator and the Sustainer.
And all things includes us.
We are "in Christ" and God sees us this way long before we woke up to the truth about us. And when we wake up to the reality of our situation, we see ourselves differently, too.
We see ourselves as found, not lost. We see ourselves as lifted up, not brought low.
And all of this is because of one crazy, beautiful thing: Grace.
Because of God's grace, we are given the ability to see clearly, and to realize our worth in the eyes of God. We can rest in the knowledge that we don't have to work more and try harder.
God is playing the long game here. We are part of an age-old story---the greatest story, which is all about how God is saving the world one lost sheep at a time.
Pretty cool, right?
I know that many of us are anxious. We walk around in a surreal world that feels like a dream. The streets are empty, the storefronts closed, and most of are closed off in our homes, waiting.
But the same God who sees all times as one... who sees us as resurrected and perfect... whose grace is more than enough for us to overcome any struggle, strife or challenge...
This same God sees the end of this is already there in fact. The Christ, the second person of the Trinity, the Blueprint, the Word, is already at work redeeming all of this, and all of us.
Just like always.
May you take heart in this, and be filled with courage. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.