+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – Ephesians 1:1-14 (NLT)
Greetings from Paul
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
The Mystery of the Church
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.
– Ephesians 1:9 –
The Apostle Paul knew Ephesus and the church in that city well. He had ministered in Asia Minor, the Roman province of which Ephesus was the capitol, with Ephesus as his headquarters, for about three years, A.D. 53-56. This letter was written to the Ephesians church while Paul was imprisoned in Rome (A.D. 6-62) with the expectation that they would subsequently circulate it among the other churches. In Ephesians, Paul develops the theme of the mystery of the church – as the body of Christ – a union of both Jewish and Gentile believers bound together in love.
In today’s reading, Paul praises God for the new life of blessing that He has given us in Jesus Christ –
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms
because we are united with Christ. – Ephesians 1:3 –
In the original Greek, vs 3-14 are one sentence, as the Holy Spirit led Paul’s thinking from one blessing to another. Here are the highlights –
+ God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy, without fault in his eyes.
+ God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.
+ God has poured out his grace on all who belong to his dear Son.
+ God has purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgiven our sins.
+ God has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
+ God has revealed his plan to us – at just the right time, he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ.
+ God has made us one in Christ – he chose us in advance, and makes everything work out according to his plan.
+ God’s purpose was to save the Jews first and then the Gentiles through trust in the truth of Jesus Christ.
+ God identifies believers in Christ by giving us the promised Holy Spirit as the guarantee that we are his people and will receive his promised inheritance.
And God has blessed with every spiritual blessing so that we would praise and glorify him.
Questions for consideration:
- Review the highlights listed above, or re-read the passage itself. Which of these blessings stand out for you as a reason to praise and glorify God? Please explain.
- For example: What does it mean to you to have been chosen by God?
- For example: What does it mean that God decided to adopt you into his family?
- For example: What does it mean that God has given you the Holy Spirit?
Morning Prayer: Gloria in Excelsis.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
“We praise Thee, O God (Te Deum laudamus)” – Sung by the Rev. Benjamin Mayes, melody as used within the Lutheran Liturgical Brotherhood Prayerbook. This is the official 1662 book of common prayer translation of the Te Deum laudamus, written by St Nicetas of Remesia in 386 A.D.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen