The Rt. Rev. David Reed introduces the annual diocesan theme from Ephesians 1:18 – With the Eyes of Our Hearts Enlightened.
Bishop Reed shares, “St. Paul makes clear that seeing and knowing ‘with the eyes of our hearts enlightened’ is a gift — a gift of wisdom and revelation from our heavenly Father. Like all good gifts, it can’t be kept on a shelf unused, but needs to be received gratefully and used, practiced on. Paul says ‘as we come to know’ Christ. Like all relationships, our relationship with Christ unfolds over time, over a lifetime. We have to spend time with him.”
Bishop Reed continues, “In this passage, and throughout Ephesians, Paul emphasizes power, seeing all other forms of power—rulers, political and social systems, military forces—as being surpassed by, and subverted by, the power of God revealed in the resurrection of Jesus from death. With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we see this power of God at work within and around us.
We can see the signs, if we look and look again. Not because of our own powers of deduction, cleverness and expensive educations, but because of the power of God working in us.
Where do you see the hand of God at work in the world about us? Where in your church, in your own life, in the lives of those you love do you see Easter?
Where is it for you? How do you keep all the speed and noise of your days from blinding you to what God wants you to see: New life… renewal… revival… darkness turning to light…”
“God, St. Paul says, is bigger. God is love, and the power of his love raised Jesus from the dead and set him above all other powers in this world. And his love is so great that he entrusts it to us so that we might share with Jesus in the reclaiming of the whole creation.
When I come to your church on Sunday, if there are baptisms, confirmations and receptions, there comes that moment in the service when I’ve asked the candidates, “Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil?” and “Do you renew your commitment to Christ?” And then I turn my attention to the rest of you and ask, “Will you do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” The power I’m referring to—the power you have received and that we together have received—is nothing less than what St. Paul proclaims here: the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead, and now calls us to stand up from our hiding places, move away from our shadowy fear, stretch and step out in trust. With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, may we look and look again more deeply to see the power of his love. And may we see it here and now, during this Council, and when we are home again.”
Questions to Explore the Theme:
- Where do you see the hand of God at work in the world about us? Where in your church, in your own life, in the lives of those you love do you see Easter?
- What are you hoping to see God do during Council 2020? What are you hoping to see in your church in 2020?
- What’s needed in order for you to see “with the eyes of your hearts enlightened”?
- How can this passage from Ephesians provide help in living out the Baptismal Covenant in your church and in the world?
- Lent is coming, and Ash Wednesday is next week. What practices might you take on that would strengthen the gift of seeing “with the eyes of our hearts enlightened?