The Living Word:
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
The Word in Motion:
I’ve said it before, all of the collective wisdom of all of the world’s priests, prophets, pastors, teachers, authors, song writers, Jews, and Christians – past, present, and future has only begun to understand the first letter of an alphabet belonging to language known only to God. And He’s been (and is still) teaching us as much as we can understand.
To begin to understand something about that language, I borrow from both nature and science fiction. The Nature portion is straight forward. Think of the universe. Scientists tell us there are billions and billions of stars out there. And there are planets, asteroids, comets, nebulae, and the like. They think there might be an end to it somewhere, but have not yet found it. Every time they send out a space exploration ship or launch a new telescope they make discoveries that amaze and excite us. (Did you know Jupiter's ocean moon Europa probably glows in the dark?) There’s no end to what they might find next.
The science fiction element gives us a multiplication element necessary to get an inkling of an idea of the unfathomability of our infinite God. It’s the idea of a multiverse. That’s where, well let’s let the internet tell us: “The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called ‘parallel universes’, ‘other universes’, ‘alternate universes’, or ‘many worlds’.” This concept is necessary in our understanding of God because it helps us to see that there are aspects of God that we will never see (at least this side of eternity) let alone begin to understand.
I really want you to get this picture in your head. We serve an infinite God. Simply put that means, by definition, that we will never know all of God (not even on the other side of eternity). “Infinite” means “not finite” or without end. That means EVERY aspect of God is infinite. His love, his power, his joy, his peace, his patience, his anger, his (oh, just fill in the blank or I’ll run out of room!). To think that we could ever claim to know him is laughable.
And THAT is the beauty of Paul’s prayer (quoted above). He understands something about the infinite nature of God. First, you’re going to need some strength to get you ready for Him. So for that he summons the power of the Holy Spirit who alone is able to communicate to the human heart. That power is then accessed by faith in Christ who lives in us. This is a root system, so to speak, like the Redwood trees. Redwoods have a relatively shallow root system, but they interact with each other to form a root network that helps them all stand. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people” our own understanding is good, but we need all the Lord’s holy people to really understand God’s love.
Now, this passage, as it is written is about God’s love. But we could just as easily be talking about any of God’s attributes here. Only God’s Spirit has the power and is able to adequately communicate to our frail human forms the enormity of any of God’s attributes. It’s kind of like teaching quantum physics to a flea – and it understanding! It’s quite a feat. Do you get it? You don’t have the capacity to fully understand God. Not even a little!
I know that sounds bad, if not a little condescending, but 0ur understanding of God MUST grow. No matter how much you think you know, it’s simply not enough. It doesn’t do him justice. But here’s the good news:
Paul is praying for three things...that you
- may have power to grasp the love of Christ,
- know this love
- and be filled with God.
I join with Paul and pray this for you. Since he already put it in words that make us wonder, I’ll summarize: I pray that you may know ALL of Him.
Action Item: Get ready! He’s a lot to take in.
And a final note. The ending of Paul’s prayer opens this up to us specifically because we are part of the church in “all generations forever”. For God to do more than we ask or imagine is no stretch. But in keeping with his infinite character it is of necessity “immeasurable.” And if you don’t know me, I’ve got a pretty good imagination and it doesn’t even begin to test God.
And if you’ve ever wondered what “to him be glory in the church” means, it means you “get it.” That you would glorify God more than anything else. Because you would exercise that imagination and you would start asking in earnest for more of Him.
Ask in earnest for more of Him.
Write down what he reveals
Get ready! He’s a lot to take in