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Hopelessness and Power

August 25, 2011

Ephesians 1:20-23 That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

We have already seen that the ultimate power in the universe is that of love, the ability to recreate rather than the ability to destroy, which sounds great in theory! Life, by contrast, is very messy. We life in a world where people die – needlessly – every day, a world where powerful dictators oppress their citizens, a world where amoral bankers make money out of other peoples misery as companies go to the wall, a world where, despite the fair trade messages and the millions spent in aid, the life chances of someone born in the “third world” are a fraction of those of someone born in the west, a world where we are polluting ourselves to certain death through greed and over consumption, and world where we lose a species of the natural world every 15 minutes.

Now I really don’t want you to get depressed! Yesterday I talked about hope, and that hope still needs to be crystal clear in our minds and hearts. Without hope human life is meaningless. But there needs to be a connection between our hope that one day Jesus will come and put all things right, our hope that the Kingdom of God will come with justice and peace, and our present reality.

Without this we will be crushed by the hopelessness of life around us and by our own inability to live up to even our own modest standards. We need to have the coming kingdom of God break into our dreary and god-forsaken world.

So Paul writes to awaken us to not just the possibility of this happening but to the reality of it happening! The amazing re-creative power that made a dead man overcome his deadness and live is already at work in the world, it brings transformation of lives, it brings healing where there is sickness, it brings peace where there has been a bitter legacy of hatred, it turns situations around in a remarkable way, it provides possibilities where all possibilities have been exhausted!

This power – that we see and experience as God touches lives and transforms them is at work within us. It may not feel like it as we struggle with our lives, our society, and our selves but it is there – within us through the Holy Spirit. Our life no longer needs to be a series of disastrous defeats dominated by our selfish will, but a life of victory or “overcoming”. We now longer have to think of ourselves as too small to make any difference, but as change agents for the kingdom of God, through our lives his power breaks into daily reality. Our prayers are not random thoughts that may just reach the ceiling, but are communication with the all-powerful master of the universe. He came to announce that the `kingdom of God` was near – his power breaks into the here and now through our daily life as people and situations are transformed.

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