Live in the Light and Love
In both Ephesians 5 and 6, Paul lays out specifically how people are to relate to one another. Husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters. If we look at these in context of all that Paul preached and wrote, we cannot conclude that Paul was trying to establish a hierarchy the put any above another. Instead, what we see is a pattern of bringing those already in a hierarchy into a state of oneness. He encouraged husbands and wives both to love and respect each other, and to lift each other up -- to love each other as much as they love the Lord and themselves.
For Paul, putting yourself above another is the work of the devil. "Put on the whole armor of God," Paul wrote. Clothe yourself with truth, righteousness, proclamation, faith, salvation, and Spirit. When you are clothed with these virtues of God, it is impossible to trample on others, for that is in direct conflict with righteousness, truth, faith, Spirit.
You can't live in the dark and in the light at the same time. As soon as light pierces the darkness, it is no longer dark. You can't live with disdain for another and love for God at the same time. As soon as you open yourself to giving and receiving God's love, you begin to open yourself to loving others, too. Like a tiny flame shatters the darkness, a tiny flicker of love can shatter hate.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 6
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—this is the first commandment with a promise: “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.
And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.
Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.