Today’s daily office epistle reading is part of the beautifully mystical letter to the Ephesians. In it, Paul talks about the “rich variety” of God’s wisdom. Here’s the passage in context:
Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 3:8-10]
Does wisdom have variety? Many Christians don’t think so. The goal for many Christians is to figure out the one right way to understand the Bible. Variety and heresy are the same thing. Orthodoxy is a single melody that can only be performed in absolute unison.
Perhaps it is precisely these Christians who set themselves up as rulers and authorities in the heavenly places to whom God wants to reveal the rich variety of his wisdom. Just as the first-century Pharisees were scandalized when Paul invited the Gentiles into the church, so too will today’s rulers and authorities be scandalized when the mystery of God’s wisdom is revealed.
How can wisdom have variety? My seminary professor used a brilliant metaphor to talk about the nature of truth. He said that truth is like a symphony that can only be revealed in its full glory with a full orchestra playing it. If only the horn section is playing, even if they are playing the exact right notes perfectly, the truth of the song will be deficient. Every part is needed.
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