Lectionary reading for 1/2/2022: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:1-9, 10-18
Selected passage for reflection: Ephesians 1:3-14
Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
There are a lot of things about God that are mysterious. I mean just look at all the things we have read over this season of Advent: a baby Messiah born to a teenage girl from the town of Nazareth, Angels appearing to people giving holy and divine messages, A murderous king seeking to end the lineage of anyone who may be a threat to his throne, and Magi following a star that may or may not lead them to the proper and true King (who’s kingdom is not of this world alone, but of the heavenly realms).
There are things we will never be able to fully comprehend on this side of eternity. Even now you may be wondering what lies ahead for this new year: jobs may change, family dynamics will ebb and flow, sickness may occur, challenges may be overcome, life moves on- there is a lot of unknown.
But here, Paul, the writer of Ephesians, makes it known that God wanted his good will and plan to be abundantly clear to us. In v.8-10, he says “with all wisdom and understanding, he [God] made known to us the mystery of his will… to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”. The mystery of God's plan of salvation for humanity, that was once hidden, has been revealed in Jesus. Jesus, fully God and fully man, has been seen, touched, and heard. All creation and humanity has forever been changed.
Notice what words Paul uses to explain how this impacts us. God “chose us”, “predestined us for adoption” as children, gave us “redemption” through Jesus’ blood, and “forgiveness of sins”. Finally, Paul states, “when you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit''. As you journey into the unknowns of this new year, what if you held onto the things that can be known? What if we walked into 2022 truly knowing and embodying the fulfillment of God’s plan in our lives?
Each morning upon waking, before your feet even leave the bed, speak aloud (or think to yourself) in prayer one of these truth statements to remind yourself who you are and whose you are.
I am chosen by God
I am loved by God
I am a child of God
I am redeemed
I am forgiven
The Holy Spirit is with me
Thank you God for your loving and compassionate character. You know us completely, Lord, and we are forever yours. Lead us in the fulfillment of your good plan that we may become more like Christ every day for the purposes of your kingdom. Amen.
About the Author
Meghan Bruggeman serves as the Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Renew Covenant Church in Carroll, IA. Meghan is a mom to Micah and a wife to Danny. She is passionate about connecting people to God through transformative prayer practices and discipleship through her church, Spiritual Direction, and chaplaincy. She loves coffee, sabbath days with her family, watching movies, and laughing!