The little song, "Deep and Wide," reminds me of Paul's prayer for spiritual empowering found in Ephesians 3. On this side of Heaven, we'll never fully understand the completeness of God, how deep, how wide, or how high and consistently he loves us.
This great love that is there for the taking by anyone becomes more and more at home in our hearts as we trust in him, circumstance after circumstance.
Paul called himself a prisoner of Christ Jesus. And he talks about surrender, and how he is privileged to serve him by spreading the Good News. Paul was chosen for this special joy of telling the endless treasures available to people in Christ.
If Paul had not preached the gospel, he wouldn't have been in jail; but then the Ephesians would not have heard the Good News and been converted either.
Both the messenger and the receivers willingly took risks for their faith in God. When I read of Paul's life, I wonder if I am up to handling such pain that he endured so that God's message of salvation would reach the entire world through me.
Would we sacrifice, deep and wide, to bring new believers to Christ?
In the course of conversation, I've found that, in general, people don't talk much about our Lord and Savior. I wonder why we don't. Are we afraid of being viewed as a dork? Is the other person's opinion about us more important that Christ's opinion of us?
Doesn't Christ want you and me to be like Paul, willing to tell the Good News no matter the risk?
What would happen if we asked a co-worker if they have a problem we could pray for? What would happen if we shared a passage we are excited about with our coffee buddies, rather than comment on today's headline?
Peer pressure, or fear of being embarrassed, we can hide behind many obstacles that keep us from spending valuable time sharing Jesus Christ with others.
Being rooted and established in God's love brings power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love that transcends common knowledge. We are able to reach over the salt shaker and take the hand of our friend, look him in the eye and say, "I'm so glad to see today. Let's thank God together for this glorious day and this meal."
No embarrassment. No fear. Simply joy and love being shared by God's children. It takes a couple of minutes to do that, to acknowledge God in our every day. It also takes two.
Christians are meant to share with each other, and with the world, the love they've found in Christ. This deep and wide love is there for the taking. We ought to feel honored and humbled that others have suffered and sacrificed for us so that we might reap the benefit of knowing Jesus Christ.
Embarrassment is a self-inflicted wound. It doesn't hurt so much when we remember the Holy Spirit is right there in our breathing as we offer God's love to another.
From Paul's Colossians 2:8, remember that human desires and philosophies can twist Christ's teachings all out of context. It's important to stay grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and not add or subtract our opinions.
Jesus gave us another shot at being what we were intended to be, so we can unravel our complications and move through our lives together, just as he did, in gentleness, simplicity, and harmony.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta.