As we move farther into the Pentecost season where the texts all seem to lead to the life of the early church, here we are again with a wonderful discourse on how we might understand this Jesus and the relationship we have with God the Creator.
For centuries scholars placed this as a true writing by Paul and dated it as 62 or 63 CE. In his book Evolution of the Word, Marcus Borg comes down in agreement with more recent thinkers and places it much later in the First Century at approximately 90 CE. Additionally Borg argues that it post dates Colossians by several years but not more than ten years. He further suggests that this letter attributed to Paul was circulated around the region and only later were the words “In Ephesus” added.
My assessment of all of this firmly agrees with Professor Borg. Verse 4 places God’s involvement with us and Jesus back to the foundations of the world. I had long overlooked this little piece as I only expected to hear such ideas in the texts attributed to John in his Gospel which were written some years later still. Consider John 1:1-8; this call to worship that we know so well and frames our Trinitarian thinking.
To me what all this says is that God’s love affair with us and this creation goes back farther than even we suspect. Jesus was given to us to point this up and show the degree of that love; and when we examine the Old Testament we can easily see the ongoing relationship that God has always wanted and to what ends that would be gone to obtain that relationship.
Many suggest that these later letters attributed to Paul were composed by a student of or a person who had long lived inside of the Pauline tradition and sought to bring this message to the next generation of Christians.
This then is warm fuzzy stuff as we are then included and firmly placed in the conversation, in this relationship. We are those people whom God loves and we do not need to search and extrapolate from the epistles to find some invitation. It is here in plain sight. Verse 5, He destined us for adoption as his children….Verse 7, In him we have redemption… Verse 13, we were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. This is baptismal stuff!
We are so loved by God and have been since the foundations of the world. All of this is accomplished through Jesus and as we see in Verse 14, it is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
Holy God, our creator, we give you thanks for your love and seek to return that to you both in praise to you and service to your creation. Amen.