it The Way of Peace by Pastor Dave
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5: 1-2
Ephesians 5: 22 – 6: 4
CBC quoted Federal Consultations last week which cited a 20-30% increase in domestic violence due to the COVID 19 situation; sadly not an unanticipated consequence. In my roles as a Police Officer and now Priest I have dealt with this matter first hand and across the spectrum, ranging from minor problems to the horror of loss of life (suicide, manslaughter, murder). As a son, brother, husband, father and friend I know, as I am sure you do, the tensions and difficulties of relationships. We all know some of our own failings and weaknesses in this area (whether or not we consciously acknowledge them). I am sure in this ‘new norm’ that we are dealing with we have all struggled at some time and in some way in our relationships. Tensions reveal fault lines and create frictions. What I share now is relevant for all because it is God’s truth. In the main though I believe it will best help relationships that are simply stretched, those in crisis mode will likely need some outside help as well. Domestic Violence is an incredibly serious matter and should not be underestimated or dismissed. If you or someone you know, are in serious difficulty please see the websites listed at the end of today’s reflection and follow their guidelines.
What then can help us with the difficulties in our relationships and with the failings we find in ourselves and perceive in others? The reading in Ephesians today is often maligned and misunderstood as we consider it through the perspective of our 21st century lens. At its heart is the principle of self-sacrificial love as demonstrated and exemplified by Jesus Himself (5: 1-2 above). Christ gave Himself for us, motivated by love, so that we could become who we are meant to be in God, our best possible version. Imagine this motive in the heart of each individual in a relationship. Every action motivated by love to enable the other person to become what they can be. I know straight away that I do not always have that love in me, I suspect that you maybe recognise that truth for yourself also.
When we give ourselves to God, He gives Himself to us; His Holy Spirit lives within us; He empowers and helps us to love in this way in His strength. He calls us to love self-sacrificially. In family units He calls for this self-sacrificial love that reflects Jesus’ love for us with submission and respect (5: 22-33). Children are to respect and honour their parents and parents are not to exasperate their children but are to bring them up in the knowledge and love of God (6: 1-4). So often self and pride are at the heart of our problems in relationships, the same tendencies may cause us to dismiss the teachings of this passage; we may think we now know better. We need to remember that God made us and teaches us what is best for us in love. May we begin to grasp this love and in His strength imitate it in our relationships to their blessing and His glory.
To Ponder: If you are struggling in a relationship right now trace your feelings back to the route cause; is it self and pride in you, if not what else? Read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a; how can you love the person in your relationship in this way, what help from God and others do you need?
Prayer: Lord, we struggle to love. Help us to receive and grow to know your love that we may empowered by you love others. Forgive us for our failings and for the wrong we have done to others. Heal us and our relationships that we may know the fullness of your joy and blessings; through Jesus your Son and our Lord. Amen.
Praise: Make me a channel of your peace
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZ4TK9xiAs
Are you facing Domestic Violence?
Reach out to someone you trust
Call 911 in emergencies
Find help and links to help via these websites:
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.