Friday, May 4, 2012

Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation

VMS Newsletter article for May 2012.

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. (Eph 1: 17-19)

This passage is taken from the lectionary for Ascension Day, which is one of the seven Principal Feasts on our liturgical calendar (BCP, 15). The Principal Feasts are dates we set aside to interrupt the continuing story being presented in the lectionary and pay special attention to something that is crucial to our faith narrative and Christian journey. The ascension of Jesus, the Christ, is one of those days because it is when Jesus hands over to the church the continuing ministry of reconciliation in His name.

In this passage, Paul prays for the new believers in Ephesus, asking God to enlighten them, so that they will be able to see with eyes of faith and recognize the hope and glorious inheritance that are theirs through the power of God, that God’s power may work through them in their lives and ministries. I pray the same prayer for us today. Like those early believers, we are called to be the ones through whom God is glorified in the world today, the ones through whom God’s great power does its work in the world.

Summer is almost upon us already! So before some of our ministries take a “rest,” and we begin our planning for the coming program year, I pray we will all ponder the “glorious inheritance” we, the saints, have received, and remember the hope to which we have been called, individually and as a community. I truly believe that it is only by prayer that we can know the path God is setting before us and faithfully walk it together, enabling us to do our work of reconciliation in the name of our Savior.

Our Christian narrative is a continuing story. At Redeemer, the story of who we are and who God calls us to be is, like the story of our forbears in the faith, a tale of greatness and tragedy, darkness and light, death and resurrection. The hope that we proclaim is that new life - resurrection life - always follows death; that new life is lived in a spirit of wisdom and revelation through prayer and action. Owning our identity as children of God and heirs with Christ, we know that our growth into new life is guided by our loving Parent who is patient as we learn, supplies our every need, celebrates every step we take, and redeems our mistakes along the way.

As St. Paul says, the church is the body of Christ in the world, and each of us individual members of it. (1Cor 12:27) Beginning in the month of May, therefore, I ask that everyone present in our community prayerfully ponder how the riches of the glorious inheritance entrusted to each of us individually, and to us as a church body, can be activated and offered to manifest the kingdom of God through Redeemer in this time and place.

This Saturday, May 5, some of us will be attending the Mission & Ministry Conference at Trinity Church in Asheville, a gift given to us at just the right time (there goes God supplying our need again!). We hope to take from this conference new ideas, new energy, and additional tools to accomplish the above task.

The Spirit is moving and we are excited to go where the breath of God sends us. Thanks be to God!

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