A Retake On Ephesians 5:22 ff
Here are some thoughts on Sunday's epistle Ephesians 5:22ff. However I believe that the topic in this section, The Lord's Supper, actually begins in v. 15.
If St. Paul's letter here is in fact a baptismal address to the newly baptized (as I believe it to be), then beginning in v. 15 he begins to shift gears now from the baptism they have just received to the Eucharist they will receive for the first time. Note the language herein:
V. 15 Be careful how you live, walking not as "asophoi" / unwise but as "sophoi" / wise. This is now their new designation as baptized people "sophoi" / wise. This is similar to what the Lord told Thomas: be no longer apistos (an outsider), but pistos (a member). It is a new designation in Christ.
V. 16 "making the best use of the time" as translated by ESV or "most of every opportunity" NIV doesn't cover what is being said here. KJV is closer with "redeeming the time." But in fact what is meant is: worship i.e. celebrate holy communion, or "this do" and do it now, because the days are evil (and this is the only light that can pierce the stygian darkness of the sin-encrusted world.)
V. 17 What is the will of the Lord (Christ)? "Do this in remembrance of me." This is the liturgy he assigns to his people.
V. 18 Note the Eucharistic atmosphere. They have wine before them, but it is not for the purpose of intoxication. But rather that by it they should be be filled with the Spirit. (Also perfectly viable: "be filled in spirit", which is just what the Eucharist does. Indeed, in it our "cup runneth over".)
V. 19 This verse should not be read in the abstract, or disconnected from the context. Paul is speaking of liturgy here: which he may well have taught them when he was in Ephesus for 3 years - his longest known stay at a church. It consists (even as our does today) of responsive Psalms (speak to one another), hymns, spiritual songs, making melody to the Lord (Christ) who is the New Song (Ps. 98:1).
V. 20 No English translation gets this, but what Paul says: giving thanks always, he is saying is: Make Eucharistia to God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is saying: Do the thing that Jesus gave you to do. This is still seen in our present day liturgy in the Preface. "Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God." Or if we were aware of the Greek we would say: Let us make Eucharistia, or now celebrate the Eucharist before the Lord our God."
We must not pass up these things.
In the rest of the chapter St. Paul continues his catechesis of the baptismal life regarding those who are married. But note how he does it by weaving in and out between earthly marriage, and the marriage of Christ the Holy Groom to the Church the baptismally cleansed and now Sanctified Bride.
It is, indeed, a profound mystery.
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