Pentecost +8 - Year C
Verse 19: "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell." NRSV
In keeping with what became the theme of the week - hospitality - whether we open a door a crack or throw it wide, where hospitality is offered, a fuller response comes than might be expected. This is a statement of belief. As you know strangers can do you in as well as bless you. Is the risk worth a blessing? A part of Jesus' gift to us was evidencing the value of not putting all one's energy into removing risk - to walk right into Jerusalem with as much fullness of life as was available.
We are encouraged to recognize G*D's fullness is pleased to dwell in us and, with us, to simply proceed to a next stage of personal fullness.
Verse 21: "And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, . . ." NRSV
How might hospitality be shown to those who have locked and, then further, barricaded their door? Perhaps all that can be done is to sing Bob Franke's song, After the Fall with its refrain, "After the fall, there is love. After the fall, there is love again. After the fall, if you can just keep breathing you can walk away." Perhaps resistance will melt in the reminder of this good news and closeted doors will slowly creak open again or be flung aside. Imagine walking away from your perceived and protected Eden and find G*D still with you - a resurrection image.
Verse 23b: "I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel." NRSV
Can you imagine that "doing greater things than Jesus did" would include "completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of [others]"? It gets to be an affliction to not give up singing a song of love that continues past a fall, a hospitality that continues past a refusal to receive it. Bear such well for we desire to "present everyone mature/whole/saved in Christ" (verse 28).