Remember that saying about pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming? Well, last Saturday night I woke myself up because I’d pinched my arm in my sleep. I have a good bruise from it. First time ever I’ve done that.
I don’t remember dreaming about anything that might have led me to pinch myself. But maybe I was dreaming about the days when our children were small. (Ever pinched your child as discipline? Not my norm, but I think I may have done it once or twice.) Or maybe I was dreaming about pinching The Missus, but I probably wouldn’t have done it on her arm.
So Sunday morning, as I had the communion meditation, I talked about it being God’s way of letting us pinch ourselves to make sure we’re not dreaming. I told about pinching myself. Though I left out the part about any dream of pinching The Missus. I didn’t want to distract people.
I introduced Eph 1.3-11 as a single grammatical sentence, a piling-on of blessings from being in Christ. I actually read verse 3 only, since our time was running out, but characterized the passage as Paul pinching himself, in a way, almost not believing all we have in the Lord. All as illustration, of course.
So when you pinch off a piece of that bread, said I, pinch yourself, spiritually, not physically, and tell yourself that you’re not dreaming. Christ is real, and the hope, faith, love, power, and purpose that we have in him are real as well.
• A brother asked about “spiritual understand” and “wisdom” in Col 1.9. Here are my edited comments, which might be useful to someone else, somewhere.
BDAG gives this definition for sunesis (understanding) in Col 1.9: “understanding such as God grants to God’s own.” Sophia (wisdom) seems to have a more practical turn than Robertson/Abbott allow; not only about general principles but how to make right decisions depending on the situation. Though one might argue in this context, at the beginning of Colossians, for a more theological meaning over a moral and practical one.
IOVC says of the two: “The knowledge for which the author pleads (vs. 9) is that insight into truth granted by the powerful working of God (vs. 11) to those who are open to spiritual wisdom.This wisdom expresses itself concretely in the life of the believer who increases in knowledge as his life bears fruit ‘in active goodness of every kind’ (vs. 10 NEB; cf. 3:10).”
These terms were possibly used by false teachers, but Paul rescues them from their twisting hands to put them into the lives of the Colossians. What a saint knows he lives, in communion with God. Such knowledge adds tread to his walking shoes.
• Which reminds me: I hear all the time, and I heard it last Sunday again, the words “difficult” and “complicated” applied to the Christian life. I’ve ranted and raved about this, to no avail, yet, apparently. “Complicated” is a code word for “impossible.” The excuse for inaction is that it’s “difficult.” But come now: If we have all spiritual blessings in Christ, and if in Christ all the fulness of God has been deposited for our access, and if the kingdom of God is home for his little ones who have no theological degrees nor knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, how can we say the way of Christ is difficult and complicated?
• Last night I watched the 1961 movie, “King of Kings,” with Jeffrey Hunter as the Christ. It had an obvious Catholic bias, but overall, I enjoyed it. (Ought one say they “enjoyed” a biblical film?) The tip-off came from a Breitbart article, though I’m not as effusive about it as Nolte. One thing I did like about it: The movie ended with the Great Commission, and the apostles leaving their nets, headed in all different directions.
Star Trek fans will recognize Jeffrey Hunter’s name as Captain Pike in the original TV pilot episode. Orson Welles narrated it, and Ray Bradbury wrote for it. A rather strange collection of talent, no? But then, that’s Hollywood.
• The Thessalonian correspondence is know best, perhaps, for its eschatology, or teaching on the end times. But Eduard Schweizer, in his Theological Introduction to the NT, says the “actual thrust” of the letter is the sanctification of the community. He apparently finds the first part of chapter 4 to be key. I’ll have to mull that one over. But I’ll not be pinching myself over it. What do you think is the main theme of the letter?