Posted by Mark Beckwith on December 05, 2010
Paul doesn't name Satan, but that is who he is talking about in the opening verses of the second chapter of Ephesians. "Following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient." (2:2) The power of the air? It sounds ominous -- and it is. I am not sure what to call the power of the air -- although our tradition has many names: Satan, the devil, Beelzebub, the unclean spirit. And I am not sure what that power looks like -- be it the time-honored image of red creature with tail and horns, or some nefarious energy that floats about in the air. But I do know where that life-denying power lives. It lives in my ego. That place in my psyche that wants advantage or affirmation (usually at the expense of someone else). That power that is averse to risk, and which will do almost anything to maintain order (usually at the expense of someone else). That is the power of darkness. That power can lead us to trespass (2:1). But in this season we are asked -- as it is said from the Collect of the First Sunday of Advent, to put on the armor of light. To bathe in the Spirit. It is another power. The power of Christ -- given to us by grace. We don't have to buy it or prove ourselves worthy of it. All we need to do is accept it. It is a power that lives in the soul, which is a place that lies beneath the ego. It is a deeper place -- of blessing and freedom and hope. It is Christ's gift -- and the rest of this chapter describes the gift and how we might go about the internal work of receiving it. And sharing it.