Focus Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
The letter to the Ephesians was addressed to a community of mature Christians. The community, however, has been exposed to a range of doctrines that are at odds with foundational Christian teachings. Because of divergent practices in the church, the author writes the letter to remind those who are called by God to live up to their responsibilities as a community of faith. One of the major specifications in the letter is that the communities remember that they live with one common hope and, therefore, must relate to each another in a way that will preserve the unity of the church, which represents one body in Christ with many parts. The diverse parts of the body are expected to work together in concert for the good of all. Such a collaborative effort is to build up the church and protect the community against false teachings. When the community works in harmony, the entire body of Christ and all its members grow up and reach full maturity (v. 14), no longer “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” With Christ as the head of the body, the church as community experiences renewed purpose and cohesion and fortifies its ability to speak “truth in love” to those who might disrupt the harmony of the community at large (v. 15). In the process, the church as a community edifies itself in love (v. 16). Thereby, productive relationships are sustained.
Theologian Leo Boff asserted that everything exists in relationships. He said: “From an ecological viewpoint, everything that exists co-exists. Everything that co-exists pre-exists. And everything that co-exists and pre-exists subsists employing an infinite web of all-inclusive relations. Nothing exists outside relationships” (Boff, 1995, p. 7) By extension; he argues that those relationships must be held in equilibrium. Moreover, theologian and mystic Howard Thurman stated:
There is an essential harmony in all existence, and the life of every living thing shares in it. Man cooperates with the Spirit of God by making himself open and available to it. And this fact is crucial. A man may elect not to do this and thereby create for himself many problems of inner chaos and confusion; these may or may not be assessed as such.” (Thurman, 2003, p. 22 )
A conclusion we can draw from these two theologians is that there exists a delicately balanced relationship of mind, body, and spirit within the community. From time to time, the balance among these dimensions is thrown off by unexpected developments in our world. Disequilibrium could happen for some reasons. Sometimes we begin to doubt an idea we once believed. Medical and other scientific breakthroughs might give us a false sense of mortality or immortality. Death, suffering, or natural disaster might shake our feeling of certainty. Restoring the equilibrium requires that we scrutinize all of the available information and formulate an equation that will result in our wellbeing overall, thus allowing us to proceed through life with some sense of balance.