Out of his infinite glory, may God give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine... ~ Ephesians 3: 16 - 21
Ephesians 3 is one of those scripture texts which seems to have been with me since forever, but of which I can never grow tired. From its opening words through to its end, each time I encounter it I find something to inspire, encourage or simply thrill and gladden my heart. Sometimes it calls me to focus on the growth of my hidden self, that it may become less hidden; at other times I simply ask to be filled with the utter fullness of God. Then there is the call to be planted in love, and to be built on love: several years ago someone gave me a card which rendered this as - May your roots go down deep into God's marvellous soil - thus adding depth and further, wider understanding.
Shortly before going to probation (our group programme of preparation for perpetual profession), I renewed my vows in a simple time of prayer with my community and some co-workers. We ended by praying this passage out loud as a blessing, invoking for each one what Paul desired for the Ephesians - the strength of a deep and sure rootedness in God's love, and the fullness of God, overflowing into every action and part of our lives. It is a blessing we can continue to call on ourselves, and on each other.