Chapter & verse: Ephesians 3:20
Susan Durber considers maturity in Christ
I often find myself thinking something like: ‘When I grow up I want to be her…’. Regular readers of Reform will understand when I say I want to be Sheila Maxey – so full of wisdom and grace. (See page 23 – Ed.) But while it’s not really on to want to be someone else, and indeed ironically it’s rather childish, it is good to covet the right kind of maturity. And it’s all too human to find maturity elusive. It is said that we grow old quickly, but wise slowly. Birthdays bring the kind of moment when we gasp a bit and wonder how it happened that we got so old, but still feel so young. And a jubilee year in the life of a Church might be similar. What could it mean for a denomination to be 50 years old?
Whoever it was who wrote the letter to the Ephesians was writing to a church that, like our own, had got to an age that many hadn’t expected it to reach. Decades have passed since the resurrection of Christ and being a church turned out to be a longer-term prospect than some had imagined. Reading between the lines, some people in this church or group of churches were behaving rather childishly and recklessly. But the writer doesn’t take the ‘you foolish Galatians’ approach. Instead he encourages them to imagine the wisdom, grace and maturity that is possible and waiting for them. He writes of the ‘glorious inheritance’ (1:18) that God is giving them and of the ‘immeasurable riches of his grace’ (1:7). He prays that they will come to know the God ‘who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine’ (3:20). And, he describes the gifts that God is giving to the church until that time when ‘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’ (4:13). Until we come to maturity….
Susan Durber is a minister in the United Reformed Church and was recently elected World Council of Churches President from Europe
This is an extract from an article published in the October 2022 edition of Reform