As we enter the New Year, I find today’s reading to be very timely. Today’s reading is divided into two main parts – verses 1 – 6 talk about unity and then verses 7 – 16 are on individual diversity in the church. In today’s reading Paul is calling on the Ephesians to remain unified as believers and to incorporate their diversity to serve and glorify God. I find this message just as applicable today as it was when Paul wrote it, almost 2,000 years ago.
Both of the sections of today’s reading would make worthy study, but I am going to concentrate on the first part – unity – in my writing today.
In the Holy Baptism sacrament as given in our prayer book beginning on page 299 it states:
Celebrant There is one Body and one Spirit;People There is one hope in God's call to us;Celebrant One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;People One God and Father of all.
This comes directly from today’s reading, “There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (verses 4-6)
When we are baptized we are baptized into one body under one head, Jesus Christ. The emphasis is on “one”. It is repeated a number of times. Regardless of all that can divide us – racial background, social status, gender, the national church – today’s reading and our baptismal vows remind us that we belong to one body.
I find that today’s reading is certainly timely. It reminds us that we should not focus on what divides us, but remember what unites us. For me, and perhaps for you, this is a great New Year’s resolution. How can we help unify the church and how can we appreciate differing viewpoints to further the mission of Christ?
Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,