Reflection on Ephesians 5: 15-20, by John G. Gibbs, PhD
Here is a euphoric pep talk for those who could have been as foolish, unwise, and “drunk with wine” as the days around them that “are evil.” But the euphoria comes to those who take care how they live, who are wise enough to “make the most of the time,” who “understand what the will of the Lord is” (understand in what direction God’s purposes move), who are “filled with the Spirit” (capital “S”), whose singing and harmonizing with others is internalized.
I use the word “euphoria” because, being “filled with the Spirit,” they “bore up well” in all situations and knew “the lightness of being.” [eu + phorein = bear well.] The psalms and hymns and spiritual songs that they sang filled them with harmonious vibrations wherever they were: “among yourselves,” “in your hearts,” “at all times.”
Such people, having awakened from sleep to behold Christ shining upon them (5:14), “give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything.” Not taking nor exploiting resources that future generations will need, but thanking God for everything, is what it means to be Spirit-filled (capital “S”). Have we come full circle, then, from the Spirit who moved over the deep at the Creation, and who now moves through us to sustain God’s People and everything around them?
The meal of the Eucharist is full communion with all God’s creation, by Dennis Ormseth
Excerpt: Food that perishes,” and “food that endures for eternal life,” two kinds of eating, different in nature, but the interaction of which can work for the restoration of the creation: this is the hope to which our reading of the Scriptures for these last several Sundays has led us. The key issue, as Norman Wirzba frames it, is to what extent “what we eat and how we eat it reflect whether or not we think we need to abide with others at all.” Our reading of the Scriptures for the past two Sundays, we have found, shows that the question of “abiding” matters greatly, or ought to, for congregations gathered to hear the teaching of Jesus. In both details and thematic development of the narrative, the feeding story from the Gospel of John, along with the lessons that accompany it, enfolds the eating of “food that perishes” within an eating of “food that endures for eternal life,” in such a way that that it provides a basis for addressing the growing crisis of our relationship to the earth that sustains us (see our comments on the readings for the Ninth and Tenth Sundays after Pentecost).
Reflection on Psalm 111, by John G. Gibbs, PhD
Peace and Justice are often seen together, for there is no peace in injustice, and justice cannot arise among those who experience no peace.
Psalm 111 praises the Lord who upholds his covenant with works that are “faithful and just” and deeds that are “gracious and merciful” (vv. 7, 4). The beginning of wisdom is the reverent awe of this Lord.“Shock and awe” arise here not in reaction to utter destruction, but in response to “the power of his works” (v. 6).“Holy and awesome is his name” (v. 9).
“Thanks” to God (v. 1) is the basis of our life together. Here is the source of all the peace and justice we shall ever know. This psalm gives expression to a gratitude that has seen the grain of the universe, and marvels in it. The universe is founded on God’s honor and majesty and righteousness (v. 3) whereby God’s activities on behalf of the creation “are established forever and ever” (v. 8).
But to see God’s works is to have the wisdom to live in accordance with them (v. 10). That is, awe (astonished attention) of God produces understanding of the interconnections between peace and justice in all relationships: with other persons, other peoples (nations), and with the whole earth and cosmic totality.