These two sermons I used the Ephesians readings as the springboard for what I wanted to say.
My approach to Ephesians has long been linked to an hypothesis that Mark’s gospel is also addressed to the same community. Mark is encouraging a discipleship along the lines of following the example of the women disciples. The writer to the Ephesians (not Paul) is concerned to rein in such a leadership group so that the community can co-exist peacefully with the surrounding community. Yet that does not make me throw out the whole of the letter.
The first draws on the imagery of the creation of the universe and the place of Christ. Seeing the Ephesian community alongside the mystery cults and their search for salvation parallels where we are in contemporary society. Anywhere will do, any morality will suffice.
I prepared this and then ended up with a reaction to antibiotics that laid me low. I passed it on to Dennis, the Parish Clerk, and he read it to the congregation. I’ve had a number of responses , from the Men’s Breakfast – “That was the best one you never preached!” – to a parishioner who wrote in a card, “There is a wonderfully positive challenge to each of us to live our lives as you describe” That response is one of the most humbling I have received.