AUG 16 2015 “Dimensions, Ephesians 3:14-21

SCRIPTURE READING            Letter to the Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 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. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen

 MESSAGE:   “Dimensions”       James R. Renfrew, Teaching Elder

     I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Here’s something I learned whenever I’ve tried to be a carpenter on jobs around the house.  Always measure twice.  I learned this when our youth group was in New Jersey cutting drywall for Habitat for Humanity.  Always measure twice.  I make mistakes all of the time.  My biggest mistake is forgetting that this tape measure adds three inches.  It’s embarrassing to cut that piece of wood and find that it’s three inches short.   In fact, I would say, always measure three times.

It’s not just me.  God measures people not just once, twice or three times, but all the time.  It’s not because God makes mistakes like I do, but because who we are, what we need, and what we have to offer to the world, changes all of the time, so God has to re-measure us many times to see how best to deal with us.  Because God is not just measuring us for what we are, but also for what we are becoming.

We had fun with children measuring the communion table a few minutes ago, but it’s tricky understanding the results.  Sure, use a tape measure, but also use our imagination and be sure to include God’s hope.  The table is 50 x 26 x 30, but it’s also big enough to include the whole world.  That’s where our imagination comes in.  That’s where God’s hope comes in.  Here’s what I mean:  The table is 50 x 26 x 30, but if a thousand people had wandered into church this morning, we’d have found a way to make room at this table, because God’s table always has room for more.

Measuring goes all the way back to the earliest stories in the Bible.  Remember the story of Noah?  The story of the ark he built is very specific about its size:  300 cubits long, 50 cubits tall, 30 cubits wide.  A cubit is about a foot and a half, eighteen inches, so that’s about 450 x 75 by 45 feet.  If you measure it out I don’t think it’s big enough to include all of the animal species in the world – the space for elephants alone would use up a lot of it – but it’s like our communion table, when we measure it it’s too small for a large crowd, but if a large crowd appears there’s still room for everyone.  There’s room for every creature. Because when God measures, it involves more than a measuring tape.

There’s a famous painting of the Last Supper by Salvador Dali.  I should have used it for the bulletin cover this morning.  It shows Jesus, the disciples and the table, but the surreal style of the painting merges the small upper room with heavenly clouds that emphasizes the measureless height, length, depth and timelessness of Christ.   It also shows the biggest communion table I’ve ever seen in any artwork, not just long, but very wide.

How do you measure the love of God, the height, depth, length and width of what God offers to you in Jesus Christ?  How do you measure eternity?  How do you measure love?  Whatever measure we use, inches, feet, miles, millimeters, meters, kilometers, it seems inadequate to the task.  A thousand meters?  God’s love is bigger.  Ten thousand miles?  God is bigger.  A million light years?  God’s love is bigger than that.

But small enough to meet you right where you are.  Small enough to know exactly where you are.  Small enough to know who you are and what you need.  Small enough to touch your heart.  Small enough to inspire a new idea in your mind.  Small enough to tell you that you matter.

It can’t be measured.  But I believe we can feel eternity, we can feel that love, we can feel the presence of God as we celebrate communion.  This is my body.  This is my blood.  Broken for you, poured out for many.  We’re drawn right into the story because God is measuring not just what we are but also what we can become.

     I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

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