God's Dwelling Place
Christians fitting together to compose God's dwelling place.
During the summer of 2014, the eyes of billions of spectators were glued to their television screens as they watched the most popular sporting event in the world—the World Cup. I also remember watching the 2010 World Cup played in South Africa. But at both events something struck me as I observed the players. Regardless of the color of their shirt, at key moments many of them took this posture—hands clasped, head bowed, then eyes raised in unspoken pleas to heaven. It's as if these world class athletes instinctively knew that heaven truly is the place of God's dwelling.
Heavenly places, we read in Ephesians 1, are the glorious seat of Christ's powerful rule. So, soccer stories aside, we can celebrate as sons and daughters of the King who reigns from heaven a-high, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion (1:21). At the same time, today's passage invites us to consider how that cosmic reign is made visible in daily, tangible, breathing, human life. It helps us answer the question: Where does God live?
Here's some background to help us understand this passage of Scripture. The apostle Paul is writing from prison to fellow-followers of Jesus in the port city of Ephesus and in the broader Asia Minor region. Through time—by conquest, colonization, and emigration—Greeks, Persians, Romans, and Jews had been added to the indigenous inhabitants of Anatolia. Diverse cultural, linguistic, socio-economic, and religious expressions mixed and clashed, forced together by the hegemony of Rome. Traditions were being challenged, identities were shifting, and many felt uprooted, at a loss—especially the people at the bottom of the totem pole.
Of course, according to the official story, ...
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Ruth Padilla DeBorst, a Cost Rican scholar, serves as Director of Christian Formation and Leadership Development with World Vision International.