In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.
Perhaps it is fitting that I wrote these reflections on Trinity Sunday. The long opening blessing of Ephesians focuses on the three persons of the Trinity, one after another. It starts with the heavenly purpose of God, stretching forward from the dawn of time (1:3-6). It ends with the Church’s experience of the Spirit, pointing towards greater glory ahead (1:13-14). And this middle section (1:7-12) is the centre and heartbeat of the whole. It’s about Jesus Christ, who anchored God’s work in the life of earth. ‘In Christ’ – either explicitly stated, or implied by the words ‘in him’ – are rich blessings and mighty deeds of goodness.
In Christ, God’s people have forgiveness, ‘through his blood’. The cross is a place of grace and gift, enabling Christians to live in freedom, confidence and pardon, rather than in the misery and mess of our own selfishness and mistakes.
In Christ, God’s pleasure and plan are declared to the world and set into action, and in Christ the full story of time will be brought together, in wholeness and joy.
In Christ, the Church travels in a mood of hope and promise, secure in the knowledge that the life we now share with Christ will grow into glory and will last in love.
Christ is the pivot around which God’s eternal purpose finds grip and power in this world of time and touch. Christ is the lens through which we see the reality of God in the story of earth. Christ is the partner in whom we link arms with the majesty and mercy of heaven. Christ is the presence who brings the life of God into our living, and the pilot who steers our journey home, into the life of God.
Lord Jesus Christ, lover and Lord and life-giver, the dirt and pain of your cross pardon our sin and shame, the life of your resurrection quickens our pilgrim journey, the hope of your kingdom beckons our desire and delight. In you we live and move, in you we rejoice and trust, to you we look and on you we depend. Praise and glory be to you, now and always. Amen.
The Rev’d John Proctor is a member of Downing Place URC in Cambridge, and serves as General Secretary of the URC.
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