Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Hudos Eetho: Renewal of the ChurchEphesians 4:1-7
V.4:“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called”
It would behoove me to at least provide background on the title of the devotion as I myself did not know the meaning of the Hudos Eetho. The church’s liturgical year usually consists of having seven seasons made up of seven weeks each. The actual first two Sundays of the liturgical year – the Feast of Sanctification (Kudos Etho) and the Feast of Dedication (Hudos Etho). These two Sundays are known to be preparatory in nature as we begin the liturgical year. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate tradition and routine, but as we examine ourselves, let us remind ourselves to be fully focused on the life and work of Jesus Christ in each season. Let us ground ourselves in God’s truth and holy tradition, even as the world and its ways change. As we remember last week that the church has been sanctified and set apart to be like Christ, this week let us remember to be fully devoted and committed to the mission of being holy and renewed in Him.
The epistle of Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus. The passage of focus emphasizes Paul’s hope for the Ephesians. There are 3 themes we see in the 6 chapters the letter breaks down to. The first part expounds on Christ’s work and purpose reconciling all things to Himself and God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The second is Christ’s work of unity and that there should be no barrier to gather as one family in the Lord. Thirdly, Christians must live as new people, and gives Paul specific advice to all groups of people.
The church of Ephesus was comprised of Gentiles or non Jewish people which in itself was radical. Though God first reached out to the pagan Abram in Haran and the nation Israel started as one set apart, the promise of redemption and salvation was given to all through Jesus and unites us. Paul’s insistence and determination in this would ultimately lead to his death and imprisonment. It made him an enemy amongst his own people and even leaders like Peter were hesitant to show favor to the Gentiles. As the passage for today expounds, Paul exhorted the people to showcase the character of Christ- humility, gentleness, patience and love. Paul called for unity and focus on the truths we cite in our Nicene Creed- one Lord, faith, and baptism. The verse of focus challenges us to seek the oneness found in the Spirit and community of believers. That hope drives us above all things here on earth.
The word church derives from the Greek word called Ecclesia which roughly means called out assembly. I asked previously what do you see when the church comes to mind, and I hope as you read the passage, you compare your vision to that of Paul’s. As Paul emphasized in this passage, we were to be one in purpose and mindset. We have our hope set on life with God and seeing all things redeemed to God. Why do we do it? We seek to make Christ known and take part in the joy of God’s saving grace. Let us not just be a facility that facilitates events of our peers or end as a museum of what once was. The church body must be one in heart and mind, and listen to the revelation of God given to each of us. Let us seek to make God great, guided by the Spirit to ALL people. Jew, Gentile, Indian, Atheist, Black; all people are created in the image of God and are called to Him. Let us take part in the work and be renewed in the hope that Christ gives. We were dead and now alive through a gift of grace. My hope is we pray all people come to know real joy in God in this liturgical year. Let us shout it out and go together, we will go farther that way. Be blessed and renewed this season.
Heavenly Father please help us to worship in Spirit and truth and seek to be one with you. Let us not be blinded by our ambition or things that don’t matter. Renew us and restore us. Amen
Thought for the Day
How are you functioning within the body of Christ? What needs renewal within you to grow more like Christ?
Mar Thoma Church of Staten Island, NY