Dear Christ Church,
This Sunday will be a rich day of Word and Sacrament, as we celebrate both Holy Baptism and Communion, and continue our series in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of England’s greatest preachers of the 20th century, wrote about Ephesians:
“It is very difficult to speak of [Ephesians] in a controlled manner because of its greatness and because of its sublimity . . . the peculiar feature and characteristic of the Epistle to the Ephesians is that here the Apostle seems to be, as he puts it himself, in ‘the heavenly places’, and he is looking down at the great panorama of salvation and redemption . . . The result is that in this Epistle there is very little controversy; and that is so because his great concern here was to give to the Ephesians . . . a panoramic view of this wondrous and glorious work of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Our Sunday liturgy will begin with the declaration, from Ephesians 4, that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” as we welcome several baptismal candidates into the kingdom. Please join me in prayer for the following baptismal candidates (Leo Bietry, Win Hull, Edith Cayse, and Carolina Talbert), that they will walk in the fullness of God’s love all the days of their lives. One of my favorite moments in the baptismal liturgy is when I ask the congregation, “Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?”, and everyone responds, “I will, with God’s help.” It takes a church to raise a child.
Lastly, in addition to our personal intercessions, let’s join our voices in prayer for the victims of the shooting in Sutherland Springs:
Merciful God, bind up the wounds of all who suffer from gun violence, especially in Sutherland Springs, those maimed and disfigured, those left alone and grieving, and those who struggle to get through one more day. Bless them with your presence and help them find hope. For all whose lives are forever marked by the scourge of gun violence, Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered together and reconciled under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever.