“Family Values”

On November 4, Pastor Laura preaches on Ephesians 1:15-23.

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 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, 18 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, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 

The Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians begins with words of encouragement and rejoicing. For the church Paul founded in this small city has remained faithful in the face of many challenges. The Spirit-led power of Paul’s witness has flourished into a community of great faith and love. And so, Paul begins by opening his heart to affirm these people he loves, as he assures them of his prayers for them.

Paul prays that the Ephesians—and all who read his letter—may know the hope to which God calls us. It’s the same kind of hope described in Hebrews as the “sure and certain anchor of the soul.” We Methodists might sing about hope as the “blessed assurance” that Jesus is ours, a foretaste of glory divine.

Our All Saints Sunday celebration (in all three services) invites us to remember and give thanks for the faithful witness of those who’ve gone before us. We’ll lift up the names of church members who have passed into life eternal in the year just past. And we’ll have opportunity to lift up the names of others, now gone, who’ve taught us what it means to “fight the good fight.” These hope-filled saints showed us how to both receive and bear the Christ-light wherever darkness is found.

All Saints Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays in the Christian year. It’s an opportunity to pause and give thanks for the family members, mentors, teachers, and—yes, even a few preachers—who’ve grown us in the faith. Some of those “saints” live on in our memories; others are still with us; some will be sitting in the pews on Sunday. Join Pastor Jim and me as we bear witness to the Spirit’s ongoing transformation of life and lives. For we live in the hope to which God has called us!

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