This morning we hear an important letter from Paul to the Ephesians. It is a letter of Spiritual direction, encouragement and guidance on how to live in the world as Christians. Paul writes that we ought to:
Put away falsehood
Speak truth to our neighbors
Be angry, but do not let the sun go down on our our anger
Make no room for the devil
Work honestly and share our wealth
We are to let no evil talk come out of our mouths, but only what is useful for building up, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, and we must put away all bitterness, and wrath and wrangling and slander
Paul’s letter is written to an early, emerging Christian Community in Ephesus who are learning how to live as followers of Jesus in a particular political, social and cultural context. The Greek city of Ephesus was very prosperous, located near a natural harbor it was a hub of commerce and trade routes. It is also a center of political and philosophical thought.
Even during Roman Rule, Ephesians retained their wealth and prestige. In fact, because of their wealth, and the tax revenue that wealth generated for the Roman Empire, Ephesians enjoyed more rights and freedoms than less wealthy communities under Roman Rule.
So, Ephesus is a wealthy, political, intellectual, privileged, Greek community. And this is the context in which Ephesian Christians receive Paul’s letter.
My Sermons (and other thoughts)
a sampling of sermons preached in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and a sprinkling of other writings