For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:15–21).
To this day, I still have a problem with writing run-on sentences. I like to stretch the point of an idea further and further by packing a large amount of information into a sentence with no period in sight, which usually confuses the reader and leads to the need for an extra reading of the sentence to decipher the intention of the original thought. There I go again. It’s not that I wasn’t taught the correct way to write. I know that the great teachers at St. Peter Lutheran School in Hemlock, Mich., taught me all of the skills that I need to write clearly and concisely. Apparently, along the way, I thought I would try to write more like Paul.
Ephesians chapter 1 is famous for having long Greek sentences that are broken up in English translations. However, even in the ESV, we have one extremely long English sentence from verses 15–21. It’s enough to make an English teacher get out the proofreading pen. But you can’t fault Paul for his passion. His desire to share his love for the Ephesians pours out in one multi-faceted thought that is impossible to read in one breath and maybe equally as difficult to diagram. (You can attempt to if you want. I couldn’t complete either of those tasks.) It’s as if Paul can’t express his abundant joy quickly enough. He can’t impress the significance of his message in any other way than stringing everything together in one sentence. His prayer is the prayer that we pray this Lutheran Schools Week: that students would be wise, enlightened, and have knowledge of God our Father through the work of His Spirit. In that knowledge, we pray that they would have sure and certain hope in Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead and know the glorious inheritance He has for them in the age to come. Paul helps us remember that the power and rule of Jesus is above everything else that we teach and do in our Lutheran schools. All wisdom and knowledge comes first from the light of Jesus Christ shining into this world.
Paul continues with one more sentence in the ESV, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22–23). As we teach, guide, and lead students in the classroom, the central message doesn’t change—“It’s Still All About Jesus.” As you help students to write proper sentences and learn the truths of this world, know that Jesus fills all and is in all that you say and do. He is at work through His church, His body; He is at work through you.
Photo courtesy of Elisa Schulz Photography