I seem to have started collecting elephants. I am not quite sure why. I didn’t intend to - and, so far, I have only got two. I got a stone elephant elephant in Zimbabwe and then a wooden one in India. But they are both quite small and, if I stop now, two is hardly a collection – except that, actually, when I think about it I have got four – because I also got tempted to buy a Noah’s ark the last time I was in Zimbabwe – and one of the pairs of animals is elephants – but they are very small. However, that reminds me that I think I have got another Noah’s ark somewhere in the garage – but I don’t know whether it has got elephants or not. If I don’t look, maybe it is OK to ignore it.
It is interesting how things start, sometimes quite deliberately, and, other times, we just slip into it. And then there are things that we just do. They seem to come naturally. And other things are a real struggle.
I don’t think there is anything wrong in any of that. Accidental starts and deliberate starts both have their place. Things that come naturally and things with which we have to struggle both also have their place. It can be that the struggle needs to be persisted with and the ‘I didn’t even think about it’ needs to be dropped – or it can be the other way round.
In Ephesians 3:17 and 18 Paul is focussing on the love of Christ and the centrality that it ought to have in our lives. Sometimes doing the things that we know God wants us to do comes really easily – and sometimes it is a real struggle. Whatever else we end up doing, let’s try and make sure we reflect God’s wonderful love, recognise how broad and long, how high and deep it is.
Text of brief reflection I offered as part of the opening worship at the Eastern Synod meeting on 14/3/15, following the reading of Ephesians 3:14-21.
PS - As someone from the floor helpfully and relevantly reminded us all, when we are talking about elephants we always need to remember the one in the room. (Maybe that is why I started collecting them!)