Have you ever noticed how one piece of bad fruit seems to contaminate the other fruit that are near it? The fruit, especially apples & pears, produce a gaseous hormone called ethylene, which is, among other things, a ripening agent. When you store fruits together, the ethylene each piece emits prods the others around it to ripen further, and vice versa. The riper a piece of fruit is, the more ethylene it produces, and overripe fruit gives off even more ethylene, eventually leading to a concentration of the gas that’s enough to overripen all the fruit around it to ripen—and eventually rot. Mould will also contaminate other fruit it's stored with as the mould seeks additional food sources and spreads. In both cases, it takes one single fruit to start a domino chain that ruins the rest.
Have you ever noticed how the same happens with people? Lies are a great example. The first lie is often innocent enough, but to sustain that lie, one ends up building an entire bank of associated lies, until the truth is exposed and their world crashes around them. Consider also the life of a person who is negative about, so it would seem, almost everything and everyone. It doesn’t take much to suddenly find that you too have embraced the same negativity. It takes just one dysfunctional person to turn what is perceived as good into something that is rotten. Sin is like that, it doesn’t only corrupt the individual, but the entire social fabric around that person, even to global effect in some cases.
Paul has laid out the Gospel for the Ephesus church. Reminding them of their cosmic importance in the eternal plan of redemption, won through Christ through grace alone. He identifies the church as being the incarnation of the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ, His presence in the world. Now he continues to unpack what that looks like. Of core importance is that we cease to live as we did before the Spirit drew us to Christ. Once in darkness, we are to now live in the light. Allow the light of Christ to expose the rottenness in our lives, and the lives of those around us. Be wise in how we live and discover what the Lord’s will is. Allow the Spirit to bring joy in our hearts, as we give thanks to the wonder of God’s grace in our lives. Remember that we are people of the light, who exist for the sole purpose of making Jesus known in the world.
It’s not easy being a Christian in a world that lives in darkness. There are so many people and opportunities, and distractions, that threaten to corrupt our spiritual journey towards a full realisation of Jesus in our lives. We’re told the most important thing in the world is you as an individual of worth but what is that worth measured against? If all you know is rotten fruit, then rotten fruit becomes the measure of your worth. But as Christians we know Jesus, and it is in him alone that we find our worth. In finding it though, we need to step aside from the darkness of the world around us and embrace the simple wonder and joy of knowing Christ. The more we grow into this deep relationship with Christ, the more the Spiritual increases our joy at this raced relationship, the more we become beacons of light.
As church, we have an amazing opportunity to be agents of change in a world that is lost and alone. The wonder of this is that we don’t have to do anything in the world to be that change agent. Our relationship with Christ, the presence of the Spirit, transforming us into people of the light, sends a signal of hope to the world. It says, leave the darkness and come and see what we have found. So let us strive to live out the grace we have been freely given. Let us become beacons of light to the world.