Glory, power and imagination

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (New Living Translation)

Power for the powerless
During the last few months it has certainly been easy to feel powerless, as many of us have had to rely on others. We may not even have been able to choose what we ate as others have done the shopping for us. Yet in Ephesians chapter 1 we discover that if we trust in Christ then we have been given much more than we realise.

We’ve been chosen, adopted, loved, blessed with every spiritual blessing, redeemed, forgiven and had the mystery of God revealed to us.

All of this and more in order that we might bring praise and glory to Jesus and so when we read about glory and power we assume it’s all Gods, yet here we discover God’s power at work within us. So next time we feel powerless, hold onto Ephesians 1 or 3:20-21 and remember that it is not our strength we rely on but the might power of God at work within us. We may be weak but God is infinitely powerful and glorious.

Not limited by our imaginations
When we talk about dreaming big or blue sky thinking, we often say the only limit is our imagination, but with God it is different. When we pray it can be difficult, when we meet a new situation or one we cannot work out for ourselves, we can be left not knowing what to pray or do. Yet prayer is more powerful that we realise as God chooses to accomplish even more than we ask for or can conjure up with our imaginations. When we pray and prayer for our community, God can act globally. When we pray for something that seems superficial he can do something deep and profound. When we pray for our immediate situation God can change our futures. Where we are bound by our experience or confidence in prayer, God knows no bounds, and works infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes and dreams when ever we pray.

Glory in the church
Where is all this taking place you may ask? God’s powerful answers to prayer are often forgotten or overlooked, yet they happen everywhere. When God answers our prayers we assume things would have worked out that way anyway. When something seems natural (rather than supernatural) we assume it would have happened despite our prayers. I wonder how often we actually stop to take stock of the things that have happened precisely because of our prayers? I think it is our human nature (corrupted by sin) which means we are more likely to focus on prayers we think remain unanswered, than to remember those which have been answered many times over. And that is one of the reasons we have the local church, it is why we have one another to remind us of those prayers, to thank us for praying and making a difference.

The glorious church
The church, God’s local gathered people, are themselves a reminder of answered prayer. Every believer is a miraculous work of God. Which is precisely why this prayer ends “Glory to (God) in the church”, because the church is a living witness to the world that God answers prayers. Every believer is the answer to someone’s prayer, maybe even a life time of prayers. Our unity is an answer to prayer, when we could so easily be divided, a prayer Jesus’ himself prayed for. God is glorious and in his mercy and grace he has chosen to invest his power and glory in the church, as we live for Christ as a community. We are not to look down on people as it is God’s glory, rather we come alongside others in humility, as Jesus did. We are not called to rule over others, but to serve and love. We are not called to boast in ourselves but to boast of Christ.

So as the Message translation of the Bible put’s it:

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!