By Elizabeth Baumann
A Reading from Ephesians 1:15-23
15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I 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, 18so 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, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God 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, 21far 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. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
My little girls love their Fancy Nancy Christmas book, Splendiforous Christmas. The plot hinges on a light-up, flashing, swirling tree topper, which Nancy bought with all her birthday money, that shatters when she accidentally knocks the tree over. Her grandpa shows up a few minutes later and helps her “improvise” a new tree topper made of odds and ends of Christmas decorations. Nancy realizes their homemade topper might someday be an heirloom.
In our Ephesians lesson today Paul prays that we might know the power of God, and the archetype of his power is the resurrection of Jesus. Of course, when we profess that we believe in the resurrection from the dead, we mean it quite literally: a transforming resurrection of the body from death into eternal life; as it was with Christ, so will it be for all believers.
But while that might be what we strictly mean when we recite the creeds, we seem to imply — as Paul seems to suggest — much more. This is why I prefer the prayer book translation of the Creed to the Roman Catholic version now in use: “We look for the resurrection of the dead,” rather than, “We look forward to the resurrection…” I know that the Council which composed the Creed intended the resurrection of our bodies at the end. But the archetype which is Christ’s resurrection reverberates out further, not only to other bodily resurrections — it becomes the whole pattern of God’s power. He is in the business of transforming things that are dead, hopeless, finished, into new things — as with big things, so with little things. Because he cares about us, he cares about all the little things we care about. Even Christmas tree toppers. In all the things big and small, let us look for and see his power.
Elizabeth Baumann is a seminary graduate, a priest’s wife, and the mother of two small daughters. A transplant from the West Coast, she now lives in “the middle of nowhere” in the Midwest with too many cats.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of North Africa
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge, La.