Ephesians 3:1-12 (NRSV)
Chapter 3This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles Verse 2for surely you have already heard of the commission of God's grace that was given me for you, Verse 3and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, Verse 4a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. Verse 5In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: Verse 6that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Verse 7Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Verse 8Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, Verse 9and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; Verse 10so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Verse 11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, Verse 12in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
During my previous pastoral call, I served as Cubmaster of the local Cub Scout Pack. I loved working with the boys and coming up with fun activities for them to do — lock-ins, campouts and other special events. However, my least favorite duty as Cubmaster had to do with the ordinary ins and outs of belonging to a membership organization. Every year we had to collect dues and update our membership list to be re-chartered. The membership requirements for Cub Scouts are not lengthy or complicated, but you do have to fulfill them to belong.
In today's reading we sense the author's joy in telling the wonderful news of the "mystery" of belonging to Jesus Christ, who gives us access to God's grace. We don't need to be members of a particular group to receive God's forgiveness. There are no membership forms, no dues to pay. By God's grace we are saved through faith in Christ and welcomed as sharers in the gospel.
Merciful God, I give you thanks for the grace I have received through faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. Amen.