Ephesians 1:3-14 (NRSV)
Verse 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Verse 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. Verse 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, Verse 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Verse 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace Verse 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight Verse 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, Verse 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Verse 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, Verse 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. Verse 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; Verse 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.
Early in the pandemic, the kids at church covered the whole front glass entrance with brightly colored paper hearts. Big black letters, H-O-P-E, were added, and at night we left the inside lights on so that the word was illumined as a witness to passersby. That display is now gone, but a large wooden sign from the Lenten season remains. A simple cross painted on an ivory panel, proclaims, “Our Hope is in the Lord.”
Like the believers at Ephesus, we need to hear that good news of our salvation—that we, too, “who… set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” We listen and remember the power of our baptism: “In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” A pandemic passes, but “this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.”
Lord, we hear so much about the future church. Let your word assure us of who we are—today and always—in Christ. Amen.