Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:1-10
I hope to watch the Houston Astros in the World Series this year. There’s a good chance I will. Houston Texans? A distant – very distant – possibility to make it beyond the 2nd round of the playoffs. Dallas Cowboys? Who knows? They’re playing pretty well. Who’s your team? What gets you up and yelling at the TV on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or Monday night? And, do you yell? If you go to the game and something good happens, do you cheer? Do you give a high five? Do you whistle? I do. I do all that and more. Gleeful fun!
We do this because our team wins, or our favorite player makes a great catch. We do this because we’re somehow invested in the success or failure of certain teams or players. I sometimes wonder about that. What in me causes a visceral emotional response to some excited electrons dancing on the TV screen together with the announcer’s commentary and crowd noise?
Paul begins this letter of his with expressions of praise to God. He may not be high-fiving anyone. He may not be shouting in gleeful excitement. But he is effusive in his praise to God, and he wants us to know why. The first 10 to 15 verses of Ephesians are one or two sentences in the original Greek – as far as we can tell. One phrase upon another expressing the glory of God’s grace, the majesty of his love, the beauty and renown of his eternal plan, the joy of his spiritual blessings – every one of them.
This must be something special. The love, salvation, rescue, redemption, plan, grace, forgiveness, favor, and blessing of God to us ought to cause something great to well up in us. We can’t live in a constant state of ecstatic praise and celebration. There is work to be done. Life to be lived. Neighbors to be served. Friends to enjoy. But once in a while we ought to be caught up in wonder and praise. This gift, this grace, this love, this salvation is truly worth celebrating!