Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Ligament of Love
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended[a] into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Ligament of love sounds like a bad romance moving, like some when the guy seems all wrong and then turns out to be the love of the girl’s life after some misadventures. But after “ligament of love: came to me in praying through Ephesians 4.9-16 it became so much more of an insight that has the power to transform. Paul In Ephesians 4 asked us to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus. To do so means the very counter-cultural practice of humility and gentleness. We are taught to be self confident and powerful rather than recognizing the truth of being mere mortal who will face the grave. Humility starts with the understanding the truth of our bless of our lives. We were born to life without our consent and we all have to leave life and no amount of exercise and eating right will change the reality of decay.
We also have to rely on our parents for the first part of our lives to live. Then, as we grow, we need the bonds of others to make throughs the journey and adventure of life. The same-made individual is a pretty lie we tell ourselves to pretend to be the God of our lives. Yet, the truth eludes us in this pretty little lie. To live a life worthy of love we have to work to maintain the unity of the Spirit as there is one Spirit, one Lord, one community which we are part of. Love is the bond or the ligament that holds the whole together stitching muscle to bone. None of our gifts do as any good unless they are in the service of love. No amount of money, fame or power will change the equation. We need love to live a life worthy of glory. To be part of this great body of love, we have to embrace humility and gentleness. If the are to be attached to the ligament of love, we have to face the truth. We are not the God of our stories. In any of the roles we are called to play, be they teacher, preacher, evangelist, prophet, or even apostle, we are called to the honesty of humility and the grace of gentleness.
We are not the head of the church. Jesus is. We are called to love in unity no matter how hard it can get. And it can get hard. When my son lost his eye to his tumor condition, I knew it would be tough to love others. Just yesterday, as he was swimming with a new friend, a little girl of 6 years, I had to learn again and pray to God to build more muscle on the ligament of love attached to Jesus. He had his googles on and she could see his missing eye, them he took them off and she freaked out. He then put back his googles per her requests and said for him never to to take off his googles again. The hardness raise had to find it within myself to love the little girl, even as she hurt my son. I saw in her my own habit of trying to be God and the damage it causes.
Only when we see we have no choice in our births or death and the only way through life is love, can we hear the Gospel. Only when I attach to God can I build the muscle of love, for my love needs the ligament of Jesus to build on.