The word of the day for Monday, October 11 is “above.” In today’s reading of Ephesians 1:22-2:3, St. Paul writes in lofty terms about the majesty of Christ, the glory that He shares with His church as its Head. In the earlier verses, the apostle writes that Christ now sits at the right hand of God “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (OSB Ephesians 1:21). The Orthodox Study Bible notes that “principality, power, might, and dominion are orders of angelic beings” (OSB fn. Eph. 1:21-23). Next to God, the Holy Trinity, these powers are the supreme beings in creation. Yet Christ, crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, is “far above” them all. These invisible forces must submit to Him even now just as they will when He comes again to “judge the living and the dead” (vs. 1:21).
The Head of All Creation is Head of the Church
Paul’s words are complex and challenging to understand. But by them, we know that from his throne on the right hand of God, Christ reigns as “Head of All Creation.” Thus, He sustains, governs, and fills all things.
However, according to Paul, the Almighty gave Christ to be the Head of the Church (vs. 22). The Church is His body. He is the Head and the “fullness of Him who fills all” (OSB vs. 23). St. John Chrysostom explains, “The fullness of Christ is the Church. And rightly so, for the complement of the Head is the Body, and the complement of the Body is the Head.” (NfPf1: “Homilies on Ephesians” 1).
Better than Angels and Greater Than Archangels
St. John continues, “Let us reverence our Head, let us reflect of what a Head He is to the body –a Head, to whom all things are put in subjection. According to this representation, we ought to be better, yea, than the very angels, and greater than the Archangels” (NfPf1: “Homilies on Ephesians” 1). Why are we “better” than the principalities and powers, angels, and archangels? Because whatever Christ the Head has, that we also share. In Ephesians, the apostle writes, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (OSB Ephesians 1:23). Accordingly, Chrysostom writes: “God ‘took no hold of Angels’” (Hebrews 2:16). “He took hold of neither principality nor power, nor dominion, nor any other authority, but He took up our nature, and made it to sit on His right hand” (NfPf1: “Homilies on Ephesians” 1).
What is great? What is glorious? What is mighty? Compare the greatness, glory, and might of the world’s most impressive powers with the majesty of Christ that the apostle describes. Why should we honor these powers? Why should we fear them? Why should we pay homage to them when Christ, the Head of the Church, is “far above” all of them put together? And why should we focus on them when we who are raised with Christ should “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (OSB Colossians 3:1)?