Ephesus was a commercial port at the mouth of the Cayster River on the west coast of the Roman province of Asia. An added attraction of Ephesus was the temple of the Greek goddess Artemis, who in the Latin language was called Diana. Paul began his ministry in a synagogue in the city (Acts 19:8), but turned to the Gentiles when the Jewish leadership began persecuting those who believed in Jesus. From Ephesus the Gospel spread throughout the whole province of Asia (Acts 19:10).
The community who followed Jesus was therefore in the spotlight. They were a “mother church’ to the rest of Asia Minor. The potential of their witness to the people who travelled the trade routes was immense. And there was an opportunity to share the teachings and life of Jesus with those who came to find faith in the religious culture of Ephesus. For this reason Paul writes: “Be careful then how you live.” He then spells out various suggestions about the way followers of Jesus ought to behave – but the central thrust is that we ought to live in Jesus honouring ways.
Let us allow ourselves to live with the awareness that we are being watched.
O Master, let me walk with theein lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.
Washington Gladden, 1836-1918
Fifth Sunday of EasterLove is the Sign
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.167