From: Olivia McGuire
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
For those of us who have been around the church for a while, this passage from Ephesians is likely quite familiar, and may have lost some of its luster. But I've lately become more convinced that one of the most difficult tasks of the Christian life is to believe in God's love for us, and remain rooted in it in our daily lives. Before I began my current work in full-time ministry, I used to think of people like that as so much holier than myself, and surely so much more established in God's love and truth. But in the years since then, I've gotten to experience waking up every morning to find myself still the same flawed person that I always was, who loves to dish out wisdom and tell people how much God loves them—but when it comes to believing it for myself, that's an entirely different story. And I've gotten to experience a looming sense of hypocrisy and doubt when I know I'm ministering to people out of my own knowledge or strength, and not out of a sense of God's love for me.
That familiar phrase, "this love that surpasses knowledge," strikes me in a fresh way today—funny that Paul singles out knowledge as the thing that love surpasses, because that's the very thing that I so often substitute for Christ's love for me (and I'm guessing I'm not the only one, in this lovely community full of intellectuals). How can you know something that surpasses knowledge? That makes no sense. It makes so much more sense to rely on our experience, our senses, our learning, our mental acuity, the wealth of our resources, etc., etc. It makes so much more sense to count only on ourselves in a world that tells us we are alone and unloved and unseen—we're just a number in a crowd, in a cramped, hushed train car. How can I know and receive the love of a God I do not see? How can I actually operate daily out of faith in His love for me?
Jesus, I pray that you would come dwell in our hearts once more; today, Lord, give us our daily bread. In your grace and mercy, teach us to feed on you, to open our hearts to your love, inconceivable as it is—and teach us to rely fully upon it, so that it is no longer we who walk through life on our own strength, but you living in us and mobilizing us to do the good works you've set before us. Thank you that you don't ask us to motivate or depend on ourselves. Give us the grace to set aside our knowledge and pride, and receive you instead. Amen.
I live in Dorchester and work with students at Boston College and Wellesley. I love to drink coffee, tell bad jokes, and rearrange my house with random Goodwill finds.