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hope for churches in stress


Every year, about this time, we contend with a flu season.

To avoid infection, we are urged to get sleep, take multivitamins, wash our hands or use hand sanitizer, avoid touching our face, eat food rich in antioxidants, and get a flu shot.

The book of Ephesians confronts a danger more grave: no matter where we live in the world, we are in constant contact with the values and ethos of a prevailing and highly contagious cultural darkness (4:18-19; 5:11-16).

This threat is compounded by the fierce and relentless assaults of cosmic powers of evil, sometimes direct attacks and, more often, insidious covert operations (4:14; 6:11-12).

There is no vaccine, once and done, to inoculate us against this darkness.

However, with the spiritual blessings lavished on us (1:3-3:21) and the community of faith to equip us (4::3-3:21), we can sustain an offensive against this invasive degeneracy. We can grow in our resolve and capacity to work through anger, speak constructively, ask forgiveness, be reconciled, safeguard our purity, worship with thankfulness, and practice good attitudes and behavior in our households (4:1-6:20).

Though written nearly 2,000 years ago, the assurances and admonitions in Ephesians transcend time and culture to guide us today. Amid the ever-present contagion of darkness, we can take precautions, draw on spiritual resources, and help one another to live in ways that are good and right and true (4:1; 5:8-9).


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