October 22, 2019

19th Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Glenn Taibl


For this reason, we bow our knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth takes its name.  We pray that, according to the riches of his glory he may grant that we  may be strengthened in our inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, as we are being rooted and grounded in  in love.  We pray that we may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.   — Ephesians 3:14-21

This is a wonderful prayer- delivered directly to us from the early church!

Carroll Hinderlie, Director of Holden village the summer I worked at the Village as a volunteer, committed the staff to memorize this prayer from Ephesians.  He told us it had been a special gift to him and to the American Missionaries who were imprisoned in a concentration camp in the Philippians for the duration of WWII.

  • I am deeply grateful for his encouragement to commit this prayer to memory
  • I have prayed the prayer silently or aloud at
    • Weddings, funerals, visits with the grieving, at graduations
    • Or when stuck in traffic and an aggressive driver shares a crude salute
  • This prayer could be the outline for a helpful self-improvement book, which, I dare say, will have a content better than most such books that center themselves on something other than God.
  • This prayer from Ephesians is a stewardship text…. a guide for managing life

My definition of Stewardship is that it is the management of all of life with Christ at the Center in relationship to God, Self, Others and Creation……. all of life is the key

There are three promises to the prayer that can breathe life into each of our days:

  • That God desires to strengthen you in power in your inner person through God’s Spirit
  • That Christ dwells in your hearts through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
  • That you will comprehend the power and vast dimensions of this love so that you will be filled with the fullness of God.

There are consequences to the three promises, and all the consequences are good and life-giving.   Today, we are going to look at the second promise; That Christ dwells in your heart through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

  • A brochure describes Gloria Dei as being Rooted in Christ
    • Christ’s love…. it’s why you do the things you do, as a people.
    • Seek Justice, care for others and live lives open to the beauty that surrounds us
    • This is who you are – Rooted Grounded in God’s Love!

The prayer sees this as a continuous actioin….AS YOU ARE BEING……. not completed, not in your lifetime

AS YOU ARE BEING – Transformed and shaped and reshaped by God’s love in Christ and as your life becomes a mirror of that love……loving what God loves and who God loves

  • We are talking about being in God’s image and likeness here

This is a process of becoming……it is going with the Flow of the Gospel…. on a river of life

  • It is the Gospel River and it is carrying us in the power of its stream
  • If I were to put this to music, it might be Smetana’s “The Moldau”
  • If you aren’t a musician, then imagine your life flowing from lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mex.
    • Those are the Baptismal waters…. flowing from this font and down the aisles into our homes, schools, workplaces…going with the flow as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

There are many things in the flow, the life river,

  • We have been gathering family pictures, many going back to our parent’s early years of marriage, aunts and uncles, and cousins gathered around Thanksgiving Day tables 60+ years ago. Many are gone now…. with the life flow…but they have left their mark, shaping life and what we have become and are still becoming, all part of God’s life-river, going with the flow

Our money is part of the flow…. a big part, an important part.

  • Money gets into our transactions…. making good deals for houses, cars, clothes, food
  • Money is in our relationships, sometimes to our joy and sometimes to our sorrow
  • It leaves it’s mark on us for the value we assign to it
  • In Lynn Twist’s book, the Soul of Money, she observes that money has no value other than the value we assign to it. Most of us give money a great value and power over our lives.

Money is important to us…so important that Jesus talked more about our relationship to money than he did about heaven.

  • It was part of his encounters with people who were poor or rich, selfish or self-less
  • He preached about it in his sermons and he told many stories about its use
    • Saying things like…there was a poor beggar at the rich man’s gate
    • There was a rich man who built bigger barns
    • A poor woman gave all she had
    • Money was often a part of the conversation Jesus had with Tax collector, Pharisees

Money is in the same life flow as faith.  In fact, sometimes it takes our attention away from the truly important relationships in the life flow.  We forget the prayer….

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love

  • That is where your money is meant to be
  • Right there…. where you also experience all the fullness of God
  • It is in the flow

There is a story about Sam Houston, first Governor of Texas…. a legend to this day.  Houston was baptized in the Trinity River when he was in his 50’s.  On the day of his baptism he is reported to have asked….is it true this water washes away all sins…. yes, Sam.  Then I feel sorry for the fish and the people downstream.

As he waded into the River someone yelled out, Sam, throw me you purse, Houston said, I think the Lord means to baptize that too.

In this Ephesians prayer we can see that God in Christ intends to transform our notions about the most important elements of life…. including our money.  And sometimes that intention is difficult to deal with.

  • But God is going to put God’s ways next to ours until we are changed by the differenced
  • God intends to mess with our lives as we are being rooted and grounded in Christ’s love, loving what he loves and who he loves.
  • God means to transform us in faith….in power through God’s Spirit

I think it works something like this,

When our Grandchildren were quite young – 3-5 years old they would have sleep overs at Mormor and papa’s house

  • Sometimes, if there was storm or they would wake up and find themselves in an unfamiliar place, they would ask to crawl into bed with us.
  • You can imagine the shock to a 3 or 4-year-old when seeing Mormor with her CPAP mask on in a very low light…. the storm is safer.
  • When a little child gets into bed with you, have you noticed how powerful they become in claiming space. I mean a little child …. bracing himself against Mormor seems to push Papa right out of bed.  In his sleep!

God in Christ at the center of the Flow, is messing with us, continually messing with the way we treat people, our relationships to God, Self, others and Creation.  Our vocations, workplaces, political views.

There you will find God, if you ever wonder where God is, it will be there, in the very places we wish God would absent himself.  The wallet, “everyday” values, our generosity.  Wherever you are, God is not done with you yet.

I see that your congregation is talking about mission and ministry and the resources necessary to fuel this mission, as you are ROOTED IN CHRIST It is part of the life-flow, and God is in it.  In fact, pushing you right into new ways of managing your life for the sake of the gospel. As you are being rooted and grounded in love…. Christ’s love

Think about that as you commit yourselves to mission and ministry here…As you are being.rooted and grounded in God’s Love.  Go with that flow…it is a good place to live yourselves into a new way of being.

Now we can finish the prayer.   Now to him who by the power…