The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Sublime but subversive

Grant us, dear Friend, the fullness of your loving intimacy

Let me be, by grace, what you are by nature. So goes my midwinter prayer, seeking from Christ the love and life that he is: flesh and Spirit, Word and matter, joined in loving unity.

In him, human flesh is filled and fulfilled by the Loving Mystery of God. In Christ, we see the fulfillment of the fundamental human hope: To know and be filled with the ecstasy of the unbounded love of God. It is for this that our flesh is created.

Martin Luther wrote: "We are filled in all ways in which he makes full, and full of God we are showered with all gifts and grace and filled with his Spirit ... and his life lives in us. His beatitude makes us blessed, his love awakens love in us ... so that we become completely divine, not having a piece or even a few pieces of God, but all abundance" (see note).

Luther was neither blind nor naive to the sin that clings and disfigures us. But his words echo the most sublime prayer of Christian Scripture: to comprehend the incomprehensible love of Christ — that we "may be filled with the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:18-19).

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