Well, all three of our groups have caught up to each other and we are now half way through the six chapters of the Letter to the Ephesians. In reading the third chapter we realized again that our congregation feels a special affinity for the third chapter of Ephesians. It has been our blessing to be able to worship in the Chapel of the Epiphany at the Vancouver School of Theology for nearly three decades now. While we do not own any property we have been able to rent the Chapel of the Epiphany for Sunday morning use over that time. As a result we make a special point of celebrating Epiphany on the Sunday closest to January 6 each year. On that occasion we use the texts that are set aside by the ecumenical church for Epiphany. They are always the same four readings: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Matthew 2:1-12 and, yes, Ephesians 3:1-12. Each year when we read these texts we remind ourselves that, if asked, we should be able to answer the question: "Just what epiphany is this chapel named for? What great insight, what great 'aha', is to be remembered whenever we enter this chapel?"
As a result I have preached many sermons on the third chapter of Ephesians, with the most recent being the one posted on this blog from this past January: The People of the Epiphany. There is also a blog post that reflects on Epiphany as a season in the Christian Year: Earth's Manifest. Both of these posts attempt to answer the question "What epiphany?". When combined with the preacher's notes on Ephesians 3:14-21 that I posted last week just one verse in this chapter (vs 13) is left unaccounted for. I had forgotten how central this chapter has been, and continues to be, in our life together. What else is there to say about our time together this past week? We had rich, engaging conversations as we hosted this text. We found the chapter mostly rich and beautiful while, at the same time, odd and confounding ... like a welcome stranger who told us things we already knew so that we could hear them as if for the first time. We found ourselves being "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:17) as we met together to engage this correspondence that seemed as if it were addressed to our time and place. We spent a good deal of our time recovering our communal memory of the great Epiphany that is at the heart of the Letter to the Ephesians and of our life together. We found ourselves looking forward to chapter four.