How big is your God? Often we picture God looking much like ourselves, loving people that pretty much look and think and believe like us. God is our tribal god, the one that thinks like an American, like a Methodist, that behaves pretty much in line with how we think gods ought to act - loving good people and damning unbelievers to hell. Too often in Christianity, God is pictured as narrowly loving only a few who believe like us and the rest of the world is bound for hell in a handbasket.
Paul had his work cut out for him. He lived in a time when gods were very parochial, too. Everybody had their tribal gods. Even God in Judaism became narrowly defined within Judaism. God was God only for Jews. Even though stories like Jonah, where God's love extended to the Ninevites, and the grand vision of Isaiah's peaceable kingdom were apart of Jewish thought, Jews retained a narrow vision of God's beneficence. Yet, amazingly, Paul, being Jewish himself, believed that Jesus Christ smashed the barriers between people, that the love he came to show extended God's grace to everyone, and thus, Paul took the message of God's salvation to the Gentiles, to the world. God, according to Paul, was an awfully huge God. "I pray you will come to know the expanse of God's loving reach into the world," he would write.
Ephesians has a grand, expansive vision of salvation. It is not for a select few; Paul believes that one day, all will be reconciled by the grand reach of God's love.
We live out of that big picture of God's love right now, extending God's grace to everyone we meet, meeting the world's barriers of hate with forgiveness, overcoming the walls that divide, with the Christian span of hope and belief that sees all as brothers and sisters, for all will become brothers and sisters through Christ's love. How big is your God? I hope, as Paul hopes, you will come to know how big God really is!
Love, Pastor Dave