Collect for Grace
O Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 100)
Members of Christ’s body
Paul writes to the church in Ephesus about the power, the giftedness we have received through our participation in the dying and rising of Christ, symbolized by our baptism:
“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).
Not just a faithful remnant
With the Ephesians, we are no longer just a faithful remnant, like “whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem [and] will be called holy” (Isa. 4:3).
Instead, we are called to “the measure of the full stature of Christ,” to a much larger vision of ministry to the whole world. As we sing in Canticle 11 this morning:
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut. (BCP 87)
We are not secure within the walls of the city, but welcoming to those who would come in.
We are no longer left behind, separate from the world, but sent out into it.
Certainly not anxious neighbors
And out in the world, we ought to be recognizably different from the anxious neighbors Jesus meets in today’s Gospel (Matt. 8:28-34).
Too often, we respond just like the townspeople. “Why are you helping those dirty, wild, Gerasenes?”
“And, wait a minute,” say the swineherds, “those are my pigs!”
“You’re upsetting everything! This was such a quiet neighborhood until you came along; we were secure and separate.”
Instead, we ought to look for and recognize God’s purpose at work, for we are a whole community of gifted, grace-filled ministers being directed, in all we do, to the fulfilling of that purpose.