A People of Power
Listen to this daily worship
Ephesians 3: 16-17 (NRSVA)
16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
I have recently become interested in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Amidst the achievements and injustices inherent in just about any empire, one dynastic practice rather startled me. Namely that between the reigns of Mehmed II and Mehmed III, the Ottoman Sultans were legally allowed to execute their brothers, even if they were innocent children. In some cases they were encouraged to do so. The idea was that this fratricide would help to avoid civil wars that could destabilise the state.
Succession in medieval times all around Europe and across the world could be a similarly messy and bloodthirsty business as dynasties tried to cling to power. But power and happy families have a history of not doing well together. Modern TV dramas like Succession suggest that eliminating or neutralising your family rivals for power is still in fashion.
When Paul was writing Ephesians the Roman Empire was the ruling power of the day. Their successions were also often messy and showed how easily power became something to divide rather than unite families. It is within that context that Paul called the new believers to recognise what they have inherited from God through the family relationship that comes through Christ. One of those things is power. But it isn’t a power to be grabbed, but a power to be shared.
Power sharing Lord
On days when I feel weak
When I am not sure that I can make a difference
Not sure I even want to try
Help me to feel the power of your Spirit
Granting me the strength of the family to whom I belong.
The family of Christ.