Are We Bold to Say?

Monday, June 2, 2014 – 7 Easter, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 89:1-18 (morning) // 89:19-52 (evening)

Joshua 1:1-9

Ephesians 3:1-13

Matthew 8:5-17

How do the bold voices in our faith tradition summon the audacity to speak the good news in a new way? Our second reading today gives us an example of great boldness. The passage goes so far as to say that previous people of God had not understood all of God’s mysteries, but people in the author’s present moment can now grasp a new truth. Such full confidence in the present must have affronted those who cherished the past!

As the reading puts it, “In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” That is, the Spirit has the capacity to disclose a mystery to God’s people that their ancestors didn’t see.

Exactly what mystery was revealed in this letter to the Ephesians? The mystery was the unexpected announcement of full inclusion in the body of Christ: “that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” In other words, the body of Christ and the good news were for far more people than previous generations realized.

I’ve often admired the United Church of Christ for its motto “God is still speaking,” and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for giving its chief leadership role to a prophet who can announce new revelations. Our Scripture reading today reminds us that openness to God’s continued revelation through the Spirit is built deep into the foundation of the Christian faith.

This reading reminds us especially that Christ gives us “access to God in boldness and confidence,” and that “through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known.” Do our own proclamations of faith reflect boldness and confidence . . . or merely reverential deference? Do we speak from a wisdom full of rich variety, or just from the limitations of our own perspective?

We can never be completely confident that we can fathom the mystery or wisdom of God. What we can know from today’s Scripture reading is that some divine mysteries elapse over many generations, and that wisdom is disclosed through rich diversity. What God’s people need is a wide openness to an unfolding mystery and a brave confidence in proclaiming something new. Perhaps we can offer to God that openness and that audacity today.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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