We come in wanting to know
What will happen, what we should do, what the plan is.
We can feel it rise up in us, this discomfort with uncertainty.
Some of us have made plans
We have New Year’s resolutions, new determination, our own way forward.
We want to improve ourselves and reach our goals.
And you, our Creator God
Have just arrived on earth as a little babe, love incarnate, hope personified.
We welcome this new beginning.
We see that you have your own plan
That you have hidden the mystery within you, an eternal purpose, a divine wisdom.
We know that we cannot fully know.
So we come to you, together drawing close
With confidence in your way, your being, your plan.
We lean into mystery.
In the name of God who created all things,
Christ who is the fulfillment of the promise,
And the Spirit who guides us.
We invite you to hear from the book of Ephesians 3: 5-12.
5 In 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: 6 that is, the gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of 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.
8 Although 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 9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so 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.
11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Homily and Reflection
When have you felt part of a larger body?
Thank you, God, for bringing us together
Members of the same body, sharers of the same promise.
As we meet those seen as insiders and those seen as outsiders this week,
Remind us that we all stand on the same ground before you.
Show us the rich variety of your wisdom,
Your surprising extremes of inclusion.
Tell us what a shake-up it was that we are your people
So that we can in turn shake up the world around us.
May we have strength to comprehend with all your people
The breadth and length and height and depth of your love
A space so expansive that everyone fits here
A place for all of us to be.
In the name of our loving God,
Our shared Savior,
And the Holy Spirit.
[ Photo by OJ ]