“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19b-20 NIV
If you were to ask me where my favorite place in the world is, there would be multiple answers— even if it wasn’t a multiple-choice question. When I was a kid, I would have said our family cottage on a lake in Michigan. Specifically, I would have said at the top of an elm tree that overlooked the lake. After we moved to Florida and in my teen years, I would have said the beach. I loved sitting at the beach and listening to the Atlantic Ocean. By the way, I hate the sand at the beach but I love the sights and sounds of the ocean. In my twenties I would have said on the golf course with friends in the late afternoon when the shadows are long and not many people were on the course. For most of my adult life I would say it is the church with her sacred spaces and people. Each of these places holds special memories for me and was an important place in those times in my life. Places are important and hold special meaning. Places in our life help us to bring context, purpose, and promise.
This is where Paul is advocating for the church at Ephesus to focus. The important thing about the place for Paul is that it holds the opportunity to be the place of mystery. I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.” What Paul is writing to the Ephesians is that wherever they go, there is the place of mystery. Everywhere is the opportunity to display the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The place of mystery is no one place, it is every place. The church at Ephesus had already begun to lose sight of this and began to believe the place of mystery was in the church location. They were beginning to forget that the place of mystery was wherever they were. This is one area where the modern church, you and I, can still get off track. We can begin to think that the place of mystery is the church campus or church sanctuary. This is true, but only in part. The place of mystery, the Gospel of Jesus, is everywhere we go and anywhere we go.
In our current series we have seen that the purpose of God’s mysterious will is revealed in Jesus. We are God’s plan A and we claim Jesus as Lord. The power of the mystery of God’s will is Jesus working through every believer. We go into the world in unity of this purpose and the diversity of the gifts we are given to help people understand the mystery of God’s will—as revealed in Jesus Christ. So everywhere we go and anywhere we go is the place of mystery because we are there. This is why Paul tells us to “make the most of every opportunity” and to sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” To paraphrase Paul he says to, “Be joyful and glad, giving thanks in everything, everywhere in the name of Jesus.” We create the place of mystery simply by being there and carrying the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. This is the place of mystery.
This week we are to remember that anywhere we go is a place of mystery. We reveal this mystery by demonstrating the radical love of Jesus in thought, word and deed. We seek out those who are hurting, broken, set aside, marginalized and in need. We offer hope to those who are hopeless, we listen to those who need to be heard. Whenever we offer the love of Jesus we make that place a place of mystery. Will we make our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our neighborhoods, our communities places of mystery? Will we make them spaces where the love of Jesus is known, where hope is offered, and where people are heard? This is who we are. We are people of mystery – followers of Jesus. This is why I love the Church. When the church is at her best it is a collective of people, powered by Jesus working through them, who are unified in purpose, and diverse in their gifting creating places of mystery so that people who are far from God can experience God’s grace through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. May we be these people and this Church today, this week, and always.
This Sunday we continue our message series entitled “Mystery.” We will look at the place(s) of mystery. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!