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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ephesians 4.25-28

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Today is a day of baptisms. A day in which our community will welcome 6 beautiful children into the family of God. A day when we will stand together and declare who Jesus is and what it means to be one of those following him. These verses seem somewhat of a miscellaneous concoction, a mishmash of dos and don'ts. And yet they are not simply advice for individuals to prevent you from getting into trouble, but rules for community life. Paul paints a picture of a church that is full, a body that is well trained and alert to the needs of every distinct muscle and ligament, a people of Christ who show him off to the world. 

And so, what empties the fullness of Christ? What bursts the bubble, pops the balloon, springs a leak in this intended presentation of Jesus' body? What will prevent Christ from being seen in the gathering of our community today to those who are on the edge of it? We do. We are those who mar the body by the way we treat its members. Thus, Paul gives us a checklist. Who do we lie to? What about? In what relationships do we refrain from telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God? What truth needs to be spoken and what is just an excuse for gossiping. A masking of bitchiness with honesty. What about anger? What do we get angry at? Why? What's the root? And what sin springs forth from it? 

I'm too short, too snappy, too easily irritated by the foibles of others and too cross at my own inability. But at least I'm not a thief. I don't steal. Well. Not stuff anyway. But Paul's dig isn't merely about literal theft but about contribution. What do I hold back? What do I bring to a group dynamic? Do I build up or tear down? Do I rob attention and importance from others with my own determination - desperation - to be noticed? Pray for me today and for my community. May we be fully displaying Jesus today. We have no time to be half empty in our attitudes to one another.

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