Eph 1:3-14 (NRSV)           Eph 1:3-14 (The Message)

How many times have you used the phrase “In Christ”?  How many times have you thought about what “In Christ” really means?  On Sunday morning, when you hear the confessional pardon which begins, “anyone who is in Christ is a new creation…”, does God’s Holy Spirit tap you on the shoulder – right there in the pew – and ask, “are you listening?”.

The phrase “in Christ” and its close variants (“through Christ,” “in him”) are used ten times in these verses alone, thirty-four times in Ephesians as a whole – one quickly gets the impression that this is something for us to not just read through the words but allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate to us what they mean.  So stop for a moment or two and ponder “in Christ” and you…..

But there is one more very important word in this passage…”us”.  This letter is written not to an individual but to a community of individuals – the church at Ephesus, actually, “To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus.”  The blessings of God are not simply individual in nature, they are for a community…the church.  Blessings “In Christ” should provide a new dawning for each of us as a church – how we see ourselves and one another, neighbor or stranger – how we are to realize we are indeed  a new creation.

“In Christ”…all of our experiences…accomplishments, joys, doubts, temptations, losses.  “In Christ” reframes our lives as Christians, both individually and, more importantly, as a church.  “In Christ” we are to understand the presence of God and the call to live “In Christ”.  God’s choice of Christ and God’s choice for all of us “in Christ”…Jesus…in whom all humanity becomes real.  In choosing Christ, God chooses all of us with a  love that is uncompromising and so incredibly persistent.  “In Christ”…how different can we be?