Kaleidoscope Mystery: Paul’s Symphony of Unity in Christ

Overture

We’ve been reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Last month I gave a mountaintop overview of its big themes.
We imagined five rooms in God’s palace.  (Read here or watch here)
This is a sequel in music and colour.[1]

Music?  Ephesians has been called “doctrine set to music” (John Mackay),
“more sing-able than preach-able.”[2]
Paul mentions, “singing and making melody to the Lord” (5:19).
And a guy on YouTube sings the whole letter in one hour.[3]
Don’t worry, I won’t sing my sermon.

Instead, we’re going to play or hear Ephesians
like a music script for a symphony orchestra.
The different instruments with their themes are introduced in chapter 1, like

“the overture of an opera which contains the successive melodies that are to follow”  (John Mackay)

They all play on through the letter, but in different combinations.
Maybe the flute plays a solo, then the violin, then the trumpet,
each with its own distinctive tune.

For example, if you hear “G G G Eb Bb G Eb Bb G”,
what’s that?
The Imperial March from Star Wars.
Whenever Darth Vader and his troops are coming.
Ephesians has different theme tunes like that.

And we’ll also look through Ephesians like a kaleidoscope.[4]
The kaleidoscope was invented in 1817.[5]
The Greek word means “looking at beautiful forms”.
Who had a kaleidoscope as a kid?
Each time you rotate it, there’s a new form or pattern.
Perhaps it looks like a red rose, next a blue-white diamond,
then more multicoloured.
We’ll turn Ephesians like a kaleidoscope to see its colour patterns.
Some people highlight their Bibles
In different colours for different themes.
We’re doing that with Ephesians

Here’s our first theme colour.
Beginning in Chapter 1,
Paul often celebrates our blessings in Jesus,
then ends a paragraph with “to the praise of God’s glory!”
It’s like a bright blast of praise on a trumpet,
Or a burst of silver stars in the kaleidoscope.

Glory to God through all generations forever and ever!  Amen.  3:21

Here’s another theme.
In chapter 2, Paul said,

God saved you by his grace…  it is a gift from God…  2:8-9

That is the golden heart of the gospel.
I hear a flute joyously dancing with grace-gift notes.
A rich gold design in the kaleidoscope.


Mystery

Today in chapter 3, Paul says, [6]

As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me…  God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets…  I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.  3:3-5,9

Here’s our third big Ephesians theme:
the mystery of Christ,[7]
God’s secret plan, long hidden, deep mystery from the dawn of time.[8]
What instrument should play this theme?
I think a cello, a slow deep bass,
A mysterious royal purple colour,
for God’s secret sovereign plan.

Every time Paul talks about this age-old mystery,
he says, now God has revealed the secret,[9]
made it known, brought it into the light,[10]
like a violin playing clearly to spell out the secret.
A light pink pattern that matches but demystifies the purple.

Although the mystery is revealed,
Paul says God’s riches and wisdom
are unsearchable, immeasurable (1:19, 3:8),[11]
more than our human minds can understand.

It’s like a duet or dialogue between violin and cello.
The violin explains God’s truths,
but down in the cello,
God’s mystery is always deeper.  Paul prays:

May you know the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand.  3:19 [12]

Knowing violin and secret cello.
Maybe this duo is my favourite theme.
With God, we’ll never stop learning, never be bored!

Is anyone asking, what is this mystery?
Paul said, “I wrote earlier” – that’s back in chapter 1.[13]

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will…  This is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth.  1:9-10

God’s mystery plan is to restore and unite all things together in Jesus.[14]
That’s the big theme of Ephesians.


Reconciliation

Think of the broken things in your life.
Broken dreams.
Broken relationships.
Think of the brokenness and divisions all over our world.

One day,
God will restore and rebuild
everything good that has been broken.
He will reconcile and reunite
Every relationship that’s been divided.
All things in harmony in Jesus.

In chapter 2, Paul shows the first step in God’s unity plan.
It’s about Jews and Gentiles – that’s non-Jewish people.
To Jews, Gentiles were outsiders, shut out from God’s family:

living apart from Christ… excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel…  without God and without hope.  2:12

I hear a lost lonely oboe.
What’s the colour?
It’s feelin’ blue.

The good news is that Jesus heals divisions.
He is our peace:

Christ united Jews and Gentiles into one new people…  Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross… You are members of God’s family.  2:14-16,19

Here is the big unity theme of Ephesians,
the whole orchestra swelling together in harmony.
A rainbow pattern of all colours – no one left out.

Paul continues the theme in chapter 3:

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children.  Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.  3:6

This verse underlines unity by repeating “together” three times: [15]
Gentiles inherit God’s riches together with Jews,
are members of Christ’s body together,
partners in God’s promised blessings together.

For Paul, the Jew-Gentile tension was the worst racial-religious division.
If Jesus can reconcile those enemies,
Then he can unite us all!
In another letter, Paul writes

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28

Black and white, men and women, rich and poor,
in Jesus, we are joined in the body of Christ,
playing together in God’s symphony.


Manifold

Why does God unite Jews and Gentiles and other enemies?
Paul carries on,

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  This was his eternal plan.  3:10-11

Here God’s mystery is called his “varied wisdom”.[16]
The word “varied” means multifaceted or many-sided.
Like a diamond, each side sparkling with its own beauty.
It means multicoloured or kaleidoscopic.[17]

Each time you turn God’s wisdom,
you see a wonderful new pattern.
Turn and turn – infinite variety.
That’s God’s mystery.
That’s the church!

In Ephesians, Paul turns the kaleidoscope
to give different patterns or pictures of our unity in Jesus.
We saw some in chapter 2.
We are no longer outsiders,
lonely oboes who don’t belong.

Now we are citizens of God’s kingdom,
members of God’s family,
parts of Christ’s body.
We are joined together like bricks
building the temple of God’s Holy Spirit (2:19-22).[18]
We are like sparkling faces on a precious diamond,
diverse instruments in God’s symphony.
We are a mysterious multicoloured kaleidoscopic unity!

What’s the source and foundation of our unity?
God’s love in Jesus.
So, Paul prays,

May you be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love… understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Christ’s love is.  3:17-18

I hear a harp tenderly strumming his love song over us.
With a red pattern,
red for his heart, and for the blood that showed his love.

Once we get his love deep inside us, as Paul prays,
we can live out our unity, put it into practice,
use our different gifts to build up the body.
That’s the topic of chapters 4-6.

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace…    build up the church, the body of Christ until we all come to unity.  4:3, 12-13


Triunity

In Ephesians, Paul uses the word “mystery” six times.[19]
There are three different but overlapping meanings.
All are God’s eternal plan from the start of creation.
All are about unity.

The first mystery is in chapter 1.
God’s long-term plan for the universe
to unite all things in heaven and earth in Jesus.

The second mystery is in chapter 3.
It’s like a sub-mystery,
a preview of God’s big eternal plan
on a smaller scale in the church.
It’s the mystery of Jew and Gentile united together.
showing that all divided groups,
all cultures, races, classes,
are reconciled in Jesus as one body.
Every instrument, every colour, every one of us!

In Chapter 5, Paul comes to a third mystery.
Our unity with each other
flows out of our union with Jesus. [20]
A union that’s closer than the most loving marriage.[21]
Paul rotates the kaleidoscope for a new picture of the church:
The bride of Christ.
Paul says in marriage,

A man is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.  This is a great mystery, an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.  5:31-32

It’s the loveliest duet:
Deep cello mystery beneath the harp song of love.[22]

All these mysteries of unity reflect the ultimate mystery:
The unity of three Persons as One
within our Triune God.


Powers

We have two more Ephesians music themes.
Paul said God wants the church
to display his kaleidoscopic wisdom
“to the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”. (3:10)[23]

What are these invisible things?
Paul tells us in chapter 6:

We are fighting against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  6:12

And then, you might remember,
he describes the armour of a Roman soldier to equip us for the fight.
The Roman Empire had a famous motto:
“Divide and conquer”.[24]
Divide your enemies, then pick them off one by one.
That’s how the powers of evil attack the church.
They try and bring disunity,
split Christians off from their brothers and sisters,
then take them down alone.[25]

Now we have a theme that’s ugly.
I imagine violent war drums, or a death metal drummer.
They beat loudly to confuse God’s harmony,
to divide the body,
to break up the family, [26]
to pull down the temple of God,
to smash God’s kaleidoscope to broken glass.[27]

Paul knows these powers are real and they hate God’s unity plan.
That’s why he preaches through the letter:
Remember how precious your unity is
and stay united in Christ!

Though he doesn’t want us to be afraid.
That’s why back in chapter 1 he said,

Jesus is seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms, far above any ruler or authority or power…  God put all things under his feet.  1:20-22

Here’s our final, ninth Ephesians theme:
The strength and might and power of God.
That, by God’s Spirit, can strengthen and empower us.

In a band, the drummer sets the rhythm and keeps the players together,
like the conductor in an orchestra.

The Holy Spirit is the conductor of God’s symphony.
He keeps the whole orchestra in harmony with God’s life-giving rhythm.
I see a pattern of green growing life.


Symphony

That completes our Ephesians orchestra and colours.

Why don’t you read through Ephesians and listen for these themes?
You could use highlighters
and colour-code your Bible like a kaleidoscope!
Or colour a printout – Ephesians fits on four A4 sides.
Let’s revise the instruments and colours and matching keywords.
Silver for the trumpet blast of God’s glory and praise.

Gold for grace notes of the flute dancing with keywords of grace, gift, giving, forgiving

Purple for the deep cello bass of God’s mystery, secret, his eternal hidden purpose, will, plan.

Pink for the high violin making known, enlightening, God’s knowledge, revelation, understanding, insight.

Blue for the lonely oboe, wailing sad words like outsiders, strangers, foreign, excluded, far away, without God, without hope.

A rainbow kaleidoscope reflecting the harmony of the orchestra together.
Look out for words like “brought near”, reconciled, unity, one, family, body, church, peace.

Red for the harp strumming Jesus’ tender love.

Deathly black war drums that pound against God’s plan and beat away unity.
Words for evil rulers, powers, authorities.

Living, growing green for the other power, God’s Holy Spirit conductor.
Words for might, strength, empowering.

Be careful with “power”.
It comes on both sides – don’t confuse green and black!
In fact, that’s another strategy of evil.
As well as dividing, it deceives,
so we don’t realise when we start to move to the devil’s beat.

All the instruments play throughout Paul’s letter.
In different places one theme rises, then another.
As you turn the kaleidoscope, different colour patterns appear.

The trumpet praises brightly in chapter 1.
The grace-gift flute and lonely oboe have solos in chapter 2.
The cello-violin duet of mystery and revelation is strong in chapters 1 and 3.
The whole orchestra soars in unity through chapters 2-4.
The harp plays sweetly in chapters 3 and 5.
War drums beat loudest in chapter 6, facing the armour of God.

Here are characteristic key phrases of all nine themes:

  1. “to the praise of God’s glory!” – silver trumpet
  2. “saved by grace… a gift from God” – gold flute
  3. “the mystery of Christ” – purple cello
  4. “made known by revelation” – pink violin
  5. “apart from Christ… having no hope” – blue oboe
  6. “reconciled… members of God’s family” – rainbow tutti (all)
  7. “rooted and grounded in Christ’s love” – red harp
  8. “fighting against evil powers” – black drums
  9. “empowered with strength” – green Spirit conductor

Identity

Which is your favourite theme?
You could find and memorise a verse for it.

If your life was a symphony,
Which instruments describe your experience of God?

If you colour-coded your calendar
for the last week, or the last year, or your whole life,
what colours would you see?

Silver and gold of praise and grace?
Red heart intimacy with God’s love?
Purple mystery and the pink of new insight?
Is there a rainbow of warm community,
or are you a lonely oboe, cold and blue?

And the biggest question: which power controls your life?
Which beat moves your feet?

Is the Holy Spirit your conductor?
Is your melody in harmony with Christ?
Does your rhythm give the body life?

Or is the darkness beating loudly?
Deathly war drums
of anger, unforgiveness, greed, pride
that divide and destroy and drown God’s music.

Which power colours your soul?
Living growing green, or deathly black?
Or a mixture of both?

The Beatles sang about a “girl with kaleidoscope eyes”.[28]
We’ve had a kaleidoscope eye view of Ephesians.
With different pictures of who we are in Jesus.
We are the family of God.
The body of Christ.
The temple of God’s Spirit.
That’s Paul’s big Trinity of images for the church.

In Jesus, we are a multicoloured mystery.
Like a diamond of many sparkling sides,
a symphony of different instruments.

Here’s one more name for the church.
The King James Bible translated “the plan of the mystery” (3:9)
As “the fellowship of the mystery”.
How awesome!
Like the Fellowship of the Ring:
Elves and dwarves, hobbits and humans,
who normally don’t get along,
now united in the love of Christ
standing as one in the fight.

When we are living like that, the way God plans,
Our kaleidoscopic unity, our symphonic harmony,
shows the world God’s life-giving reconciling power.[29]
It declares the defeat of the evil forces
of disunity, division and death.

Our calling is to live like violins
and make God’s mystery known.
That’s Paul’s prayer request in his final mention of the mystery:

Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mystery plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles and everyone alike.  6:19


Finale

As we turned the kaleidoscope of Ephesians,
we’ve seen beautiful patterns.
But it can be hard to play sweetly
if we’ve been broken by evil,
damaged by those war drums,
left feeling worthless inside.

So here’s a final picture that touches me.[30]
How do you make a kaleidoscope?
You get some random bits of broken glass from the bin.
Rubbish – what use or beauty are they?
You put those broken pieces inside a tube of mirrors.[31]
And the mystery miracle happens.
Those random broken pieces are reflected back and forth
and burst like fireworks into
a many-sided jewel,
a multicoloured flower,
like a stained-glass window in a great cathedral[32]
that glows with the glory of God. [33]

When we broken individuals,
With all the junk of our lives,
are held together in our Triune God,
and reflected through the mirror of His love,
that miracle mystery happens to us.

We start to become what he made us to be:
trumpets sounding God’s praise,
flutes dancing his grace,
harps singing his love;
cellos of secret fellowship,
violins revealing his truth.
A symphony of unity conducted by God’s Spirit
in God’s multi-coloured wisdom.
Shining like diamond stars in the night (Philippians 2:15),
The kaleidoscope mystery of Christ.


Questions

  1. What are three meanings of God’s mystery in Ephesians?
  2. What pictures of the church did we see?
  3. Have you seen Jesus bring reconciliation?   What can you do to build unity?
  4. We saw nine instrument-colours: how many can your group remember?
  5. Which music describes your relationship with God?  Which colour do you want to see more in your life?

Cover photo: South Rose window, Notre Dame de Paris, 14 November 2018, by Deb Nystrom @ www.flickr.com/photos/stella12

Watch the message on YouTube here.


[1] The Victorian art critic John Ruskin said, “The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.”
[2] “The writing style of the author of Ephesians seems at first glance more sing-able than preach-able.  Set it to music and let the organist have at it!  One subordinate clause follows another.  One image piles upon another, just as we saw in Ephesians 1:3-14.  Yet, as in the opening cadences of this letter, we find themes made powerful by the repetition of certain words and by the very grammar of the passage.”  From Andrews United Methodist Church, on Ephesians 3:1-12, see here.
[3] Singer-songwriter Jason Silver. The whole book accompanied by piano as he sings is here, or individual sections with band at his YouTube channel here.  (Reconciled – 3:3-11 is here.)  Both show the text as he sings for an excellent Ephesians experience.  In fact, scholars think several passages in Ephesians may come from early Christian hymns or liturgies; it’s even been suggested, though not much accepted, that much of the book is based on a baptism service.
[4] The long sentence in 1:3-14 has been described as “a kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colours” (in John Stott)
[5] The inventor was Scotsman David Brewster.  They were rapidly so popular that around 200,000 sold in three months in London and Paris. (Wikipedia).  An American collector with over 1000 kaleidoscopes (see here).
[6] The chapter begins, “I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . .  assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.”  (3:1-2)  Paul was called “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13).  He recounts his Damascus road conversion-commission in words that resemble Ephesians (Acts 26:17-18).  Paul practised what he preached in Ephesians 2, welcoming non-Jews as equal members of God’s family with Jews who kept all the Old Testament laws.  That made some Jews angry.  In Acts 21 they falsely accused Paul of bringing his Greek friend into the Jerusalem Temple.  It caused a riot and Paul was arrested.  That’s why he wrote this letter from prison, probably in Rome.  The mystery turned Paul’s life right around.  How will it change us?
[7] “mystery” is only used in the Gospels for the mystery of the kingdom of God given to the disciples (Mark 4:11 and parallels).  Paul uses the word 21 times, with 6 in Ephesians.
[8] An Aladdin’s cave secret about bottomless, endless hidden treasure!  And as on all good buried treasure maps, “X marks the spot”.
[9] In both Roman Catholic and Protestant lectionaries, this Ephesians 3 passage is the Epistle reading for Epiphany (12 days after Christmas on January 6), remembering the first revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, when the wise men saw the infant Jesus.  Further reflecting Ephesians 3, the revelation also shook the evil powers in their earthly agent of King Herod.
[10] Unlike the common use of the word in Greek mystery religions, where their secrets were revealed only to elite initiates, the gospel mystery is an open secret revealed by God and preached by Paul openly, democratically, to everyone willing to hear.  Ephesians 3 echoes Daniel 2, where God is a “revealer of mysteries” who reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel (Daniel 2:19,28-30,47).  Much as Paul emphasized he was given the mystery by God’s grace although undeserving, Daniel stressed this revelation was not by his own wisdom.
[11] The adjective describing riches in 3:8 means something that can’t be tracked or traced out.  It’s been translated as ‘unsearchable’, ‘inexplorable’, ‘untraceable’, ‘unfathomable’, ‘inexhaustible’, ‘illimitable’, ‘inscrutable’, ‘incalculable’, ‘infinite’ (in John Stott, The Message of Ephesians).  It indicates “a reservoir so deep that soundings cannot reach the bottom of it.” (Mitton)   For Markus Barth, “the reference to inscrutability contains a warning against profanation and rationalising… Revelation creates rather than annihilates wonder, awe, and respect.” (Anchor, 2008)  The only other New Testament occurrence is Romans 11:33, which strongly resonates with Ephesians – “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways?”  Job uses the word to describe the great unsearchable things God does (Job 5:9, 9:10).
[12] In Ephesians 3:18, Paul prays his readers will comprehend “what is the breadth and length and height and depth” – of what?  He doesn’t say, sparking a flurry of suggestions from commentators.  Like most Bible translations, most commentators favour a reference to love from the context, though Paul’s grammar strangely does not say this.  Some rank God’s wisdom as a close second option, echoing God’s unfathomable wisdom in 3:10, and parallels with wisdom literature.  Most striking are the similar four dimensions and emphasis on transcending human understanding in Job 11:7-9 – “Can you find out the deep things of God?  Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?  It is higher than heaven – what can you do?  Deeper than Sheol – what can you know?  Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.”  For Westcott, Paul’s four dimensions indicate “the whole range of the sphere in which the Divine wisdom and love find exercise” (in Lincoln, 1990, 213).  Darrell Bock suggests the blank is deliberate and the object of the dimensions is simply to “pour over their souls… the raw vastness of it all” (2019).
[13] And also 2:11-22, and is possibly referring to his earlier letters.
[14] Most religions have mystics who deeply see the unity of all things.  One difference between faiths is that Eastern mystics, like Hindus, frequently see all differences in the world as illusions that are assimilated, absorbed, dissolved into an absolute oneness, like rivers merging with the sea.  In Christ’s unity, however, our distinctive, different gifts and personalities and colours are maintained, in fact enhanced, in his multiform, multicoloured diversity-in-unity.
[15] In Greek, Jews and Gentiles are “syn-kleronoma and syn-soma and sym-metoka”.  Syn– or sym– means with, together, the same, or in harmony.  Translations capturing the repetition in English include “fellow heirs, fellow body, fellow partners”; “co-heirs, co-corporal, co-participants in the promise”(Vulgate);  “joint heirs, joint body, joint sharers” (Complete Jewish Bible); “same offer, same health, same promises” (The Message).  Other syn– verbs that emphasise unity are “fellow citizens with the saints” (2:19), “joined together” (2:21, 4:16), “built together” (2:22).  Ephesians 2:5-6 has three successive syn-verbs that say we are alive, raised, seated with Christ.
[16] poikilos or manifold, varied, describes diseases Jesus healed (Mark 1:34), various miracles (Hebrews 2:4), various trials (James 1:2) and most similarly to Ephesians 3:10, we are “stewards of the manifold grace of God” or “God’s varied grace” by serving each other with our different gifts. (1 Peter 4:10)  poikilos describes a colourful flower or intricate tapestry of many threads – it’s the Greek word for Joseph’s multicoloured coat in Genesis.  Paul expands it to “poly-multicoloured”.
[17] The Living Bible translates 3:14 as “the wisdom and scope of God’s plan”.
[18] In Chorus II from his play “The Rock”, TS Eliot cites these verses from Ephesians 2 to address a weakened church:

Thus your fathers were made
Fellow citizens of the saints, of the household of GOD, being built upon the foundation
Of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself the chief cornerstone.
But you, have you built well, that you now sit helpless in a ruined house?..
Your building not fitly framed together, you sit ashamed and wonder whether and how you may be builded together for a habitation of GOD in the Spirit…
You, have you built well, have you forgotten the cornerstone?

[19] 1:9, 3:3-4,9, 5:32, 6:19.
[20] In the spirit of John 15, if we abide in Christ’s vine we will love each other.  The reverse is also true: our oneness with Jesus depends on our oneness with each other.  We are members of each other (4:25) and members of Christ’s body (5:30).  In Ephesians 2, Paul said Jew and Gentile are reconciled to each other to enter God’s presence together, echoing Jesus’ instructions to be reconciled with your brother before bringing your offering to the temple (Matthew 5:23-24).
[21] Unlike most husbands, Jesus died to make his bride pure and beautiful (5:25-27).
[22] In a hidden way, the marriage mystery first appeared in chapter 1 when Paul said, “the Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised” (1:14).  “Guarantee” is arrabon, which in modern Greek means engagement ring.  The Holy Spirit is like our engagement ring from Jesus, the sign that our heart belongs to him, and we are promised to each other.   The Spirit in us points forward to the great marriage at the end of time (Revelation 19:7-8, 21:2) when Jesus is united with his bride and God’s plan is fulfilled, uniting heaven with earth, and all that was broken through all the ages is healed and restored.
[23] Here The Passion Translation footnote calls the church, “the university of the angels”.  Darrell Bock writes “It is through the old creation (the universe) that God reveals his glory to humans; it is through the new creation (the church) that he reveals his wisdom to angels.” (Tyndale, Ephesians, 2019)
[24] Rome forced unity by conquering its enemies.  As Tacitus famously said, “they make a desert and call it peace”.  Christ made peace and brought unity by dying for his enemies.  Scholars increasingly think Paul deliberately used imperial language to stress the striking contrast.  Plutarch’s description of Alexander the Great combines Pauline language and force: he “came as a heaven-sent governor to all and as a mediator for the whole world; those whom he could not persuade to unite with him, he conquered by force of arms, and he brought together into one body all men everywhere, uniting and mixing in one great loving-cup”.  (Plutarch, On Alexander’s Great Fortune and Virtue, Moralia 4.329C, in Charles Talbert p 17)
[25] I recall David Attenborough documentaries of wolves or a lion hunting large horned animals like deer.  As long as the deer stand close together, they can fight off the predators with their horns, sheltering the young inside the herd. If they get scared and split up and run, the wolves wait until a weaker one gets tired, then separated, and it’s dead.  Likewise, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)
[26] I once heard of some Christians travelling by train in Asia.  They saw some people praying in their carriage and asked if they were Christians.  They chillingly replied, No, we’re Satanists praying for the breakup of Christian leaders’ marriages.
[27] In her poem A Fairy Tale, Amy Lowell writes,

as a careless boy
Flings a kaleidoscope, which shattering
Strews all the ground about with coloured sherds,
So I behold my visions on the ground
No longer radiant, an ignoble heap
Of broken, dusty glass.

[28] Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, 1967.
[29] Ephesians 3:10 reflects Jesus’ teaching that we will be known as his disciples by our love for each other (John 13:34-35), and his prayer that believers would be one as He and the Father are one, so the world will know that God sent him (John 17:20-24).  Ephesians 2:7 moves in a similar direction: God shows/demonstrates/exhibits/proves his grace in us; “God can point to us as an example of his grace” (NLT)
[30] Inspired by a 2004 poem by Richard Wilber, Sir David Brewster’s Toy.  “In this tube… a batch of Colored-glass debris… grows Upon reflection to an Intricate pied rose” (read the full poem here).  At the end of a somewhat kaleidoscopic poem, That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection, Gerard Manley Hopkins shares a similar sentiment of our final transforming hope: “In a flash, at a trumpet crash, I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond, Is immortal diamond.” (Full poem here)
[31] A kaleidoscope can be made from a V-shape of two mirrors, or three in a triangle, or sometimes more than three mirror sides.
[32] “standing inside the stained-glass confection of the old church was like being imprisoned inside a kaleidoscope of jewels.  It was like being in the heart of the sun.” (Neil Gaiman)
[33] “The idea behind a kaleidoscope is that it is a structure that’s filled with broken bits and pieces, and somehow if you can look through them, you still see something beautiful.  And I feel like we are all that way a little bit.” (Sara Bareilles)  “I may be composed of broken trumpets blaring and violins stuck on the flattened fifth, but all symphonies begin in chaos.”  (Camilla Nicole Petyn)  “It’s the light and the colour and the radiance of the Triune God in us and among us that transforms us from scattered fragments into God’s kaleidoscope.” From a creative pop culture take on Ephesians 3 here.