Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

Wednesday, January 9, 2007
(Julia Chester Emery, Missionary, 1922)

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html (go to St. Paul's Home Page www.stpaulsfay.org and click "Morning Reflection podcast")


Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 943)
Psalms 121, 122, 123 (morning) 131, 132 (evening)
Isaiah 45:14-19
Colossians 1:24 - 2:7
John 8:12-19

During this week after the feast of the Epiphany we are given a series of metaphors that express how Christ is manifest to the world. (Epiphany means "manifestation," and it is the feast of Jesus' effective presence beyond Israel and the church into the entire creation.)

On Monday the theme was bread -- Christ is the bread of eternal life. On Tuesday the theme was water in the desert -- Christ is the living water. Today the theme is light. Christ is the light of life.

I love today's passage from Colossians. "Christ in you, the hope of glory... I want (your) hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that (you) may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself..."

The writer (a later disciple of Paul) speaks of how even our suffering has a part in this great mystery of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." He urges us to grow, to become mature in Christ. His writing is perfect as an Epiphany message. God has been made fully known in Christ. The mystery once hidden is now revealed, not only to the "insiders" but also "among the Gentiles." "God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

So, when we ask -- "What is God like?" -- our answer is -- "God is like Jesus." When we look at Jesus we see living compassion -- healing and reconciling. Reaching beyond barriers between nation, tribe and religion.

Part of what this Epiphany message means is that we can look out into the world and see Christ in all people regardless of what part of the Gentile world they may inhabit -- regardless of nation, tribe or religion.

I wonder what it might be like to take from Colossians this mantra -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory" -- and apply it to every face we see, including those on television who may live far away. We pass someone driving in another car -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." We walk into our place of business and see our familiar colleagues -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." We notice those who do all of the service jobs that help keep things running smoothly -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Each telephone call -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Each stranger -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Back home with our intimates -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

What would happen if we intentionally saw Christ in each person we engage? It might be that we would see "the hope of glory." We would see Christ, the light of life. It might be that the writer's prayer would be answered: "I want your hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that you may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself..." ...the light of life.

Lowell

_________________________________________________________

Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link:
--
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

Discussion Blog: To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.


The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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