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Ephesians 1:20-23, Paul’s Prayer

Christ's Authority

So Christ has dominion and authority over all. When I consider the earthly powers, political systems, and human authorities, there is more than one way to read this.

Some might read this as permission to use Christ as a giant hammer, pounding down upon sinners. When a country or state allows gay marriage, Christ's authority is used like a tool to discriminate -- I read of florists refusing to supply flowers for gay weddings and restaurants refusing to serve gay guests. Organizations refuse health care coverage for young women in need of birth control. 

As you might guess, I am adamantly opposed to this sort of self-righteous prejudice. Instead, I take a step back and look at Jesus, who went out of his way to welcome the disenfranchised, to break the laws of sabbath to heal the sick, and to challenge and defy authority that discriminates and lifts itself up as pure and right. In light of this Jesus, the authority of Christ is not a tool or weapon, but a beacon of light, directing us in the direction of love, peace, and justice. It means we -- privileged, straight, white class -- stand up for others of us -- discriminated, hated, held down -- so that all of us might stand a little taller. It means we show up for protests to make all our voices heard when earthly powers get it wrong. When young men with promising futures get off easy for rape because a tough sentence would have a "severe impact" on the perpetrator's lifestyle, it's time to stand up and speak out. When black men are arrested, imprisoned, and murdered at unprecedented rates (5 times the incarceration rate of white men), it's time to look to Christ and his authority for guidance. How do we love radically, "fight" for peace, and risk everything for justice? We follow Jesus into the messy, risky, muddled life situations that require radical love. That's what we do.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 1:20-23

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Earlier Event: July 17
Ephesians 1:15-19, Paul’s Prayer
Later Event: July 19
Ephesians 2:1-3, Dying to Living