I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
A life worthy
The word ‘life’ is singular, but the word ‘you’ is plural. If Paul were speaking to a collection of individuals he would have begged them to lead ‘lives’ worthy of their calling. But he says ‘life’. Paul is writing to the believing community, the congregation, about the life they live together.
Humility, gentleness, unity, peace – these are all words about our shared life. But Paul is doing more than urging then to be a warm and welcoming community. He is asking them “to lead a life worthy of their calling.” He is asking them to live their calling, to be the people they are in Christ, to be the dawning of God’s reign of life.
In Michigan, the crocus was the first harbinger of spring. Peeking up through the snow, it bore witness to the coming glory. It was the first taste of the abundance that was to come.
Humility, gentleness, unity, peace – one hope, one Lord, one God and Father of all – we are called to be the crocus of the age to come.
(A note: to be precise, the word translated ‘life’ in the Greek is a verb meaning to walk or travel, with the sense of ‘lead a life’.)