Hi everyone, it’s Mick here; you may well know that with my wife Tricia, we lead STC Sheffield. It’s Holy Week! This is a special week in the life of every follower of Jesus worldwide and it is a very significant week in our church here at STC. We love Holy Week! it’s full of Godly ‘invitation and challenge’ – an opportunity for space in our busy lives to check out my daily walk with Jesus. Check out our website for details.
A special part of our week are our evening meditations. Each evening Monday to Thursday our church family and others gather for 45 minutes of worship, prayer, silence and visual presentations. During these meditations there will be a short talk each evening given by a different speaker on the theme of ‘The Power of Love’ with reflections on eight powerful verses from Ephesians 3: 14-21, Paul’s great prayer for the church. Four opportunities for Jesus to speak to us about his ‘power’ at work in our lives as we follow him every day. You can then hear each talk on this Podcast the following day. I hope you can find a little space this week to join us as we reflect on these great truths. I am aware that finding space is not easy in our often busy and hectic lives, and especially if you have children around – it’s not easy but it’s not impossible!
The scene is set today by considering Paul’s great prayer for the church in Ephesus; these words are so relevant for us today as the STC church family. These words were written to followers of Jesus two thousand years ago encouraging them to re-examine their lives, to re-examine their lives as a church community – to see if love is at the centre of who they are and the power behind all they do.
This Prayer is so beautiful … in fact, after reading it and studying so many times over the years I still find these words breathtaking! Ephesians was written about 30 years after the Resurrection of Jesus – it was written by St Paul, probably while he was a prisoner in Rome. Again, it was probably a circular letter; not just for disciples in Ephesus – the mega city of its day! – but for smaller churches in Asia Minor, now modern day Turkey.
This letter is often referred to as ‘the best book about church’. It’s a ‘constitutional document’ which shapes and guides our thinking and our actions. There is so much theological and practical stuff in this book and right at its heart is the amazing prayer – and right at the heart of this prayer is the power of God’s love! These verses will be read each evening at our meditations; let me read them to you now
Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
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.
Every time I read these verses I am challenged – this love is shown in the life of Jesus; this ‘power’ is made available to us every day by the Holy Spirit; this is the God life I am called to live. Every day I fall short as I face life’s ‘battles’ – but every day Jesus sees me through as he pours upon me and those I love and serve his amazing ‘blessings’!
I’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again – the older I get and the longer I have been following Jesus, the more I understand that the greatest thing in the world is the power of God’s love. As you listen to this week’s Podcasts or hear the speakers live at the meditations, be expectant – let these words touch your life afresh. Paul ends this great prayer with these words in verses 20 & 21:
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.
Lord, we so need the power of your love in our world today. Help me to draw close to you this Holy Week through the Meditations, a church Gathering, these Holy Week Podcasts or simply finding time to be still and pray for a few minutes. Lord Jesus, may I grow in my love for you, my family and those around me – let the power of your love become the centre of my life. Amen.