Susan Gamble was shopping at an Internet auction when she saw a U.S. Army Air Corps locket. Since her boyfriend collected World War I memorabilia, the locket caught her attention. The locket was from the WWII period, but it was gold and the bid was only three dollars, so she took a chance. She won.
A couple of weeks later, the locket
arrived at Susan's Pennsylvania home. When she examined the locket she
found an added bonus that wasn't mentioned in the Internet auction. The
sixty-year-old locket contained two photographs: one of an attractive
young woman and the other of a man in uniform. The photos appeared to be
original to the locket.
Excited over her purchase, she showed it
to her father who immediately asked her, "When did Grandma give you
this?" She answered, "Grandma didn't give it to me. I bought it off the
Internet from an estate sale in Georgia." As he pointed to the
photographs, her father said, "Well, that is your grandmother, but
that's not your grandfather!"
Susan's grandmother Elaine lived in
Oklahoma. Susan and her father already had a trip planned to visit, so
they took the locket with them. Elaine Gamble was shocked to see it. It
Elaine was nineteen in 1942 when she gave the locket
to her fiance, Charles. His parents flew in from Colorado for the
Saturday wedding. But Charles didn't attend. He left Elaine standing
alone at the altar. A few days later he called. He was obviously drunk
and then a woman came on the line to tell Elaine that she had stolen
Charles. Elaine said, "I told her she could have him." It was her last
contact with him until the arrival of the locket.
graciously returned the locket to her grandmother. She has no idea who
the seller was, but she described the whole ordeal by saying, "It's just
According to tradition, the letter to the
Ephesians was written by Paul, who was imprisoned in Rome, about 62AD.
Paul addresses hostility, division, and self-interest more than any
other topic in the letter, so perhaps his primary concern was not about
what to believe as a Christian, but but how to live as one.
the section we hear today, Paul goes back to basics. He reminds the
Ephesian Christians and us that God, in and through Jesus Christ: has
chosen us to be His people, we are adopted, we are redeemed, our sins
are forgiven, He makes known His plans for us and all creation, He
offers us His inheritance and marks us as holy by the presence of His
very self in the Holy Spirit. This all encompassing passage should leave
us in no doubt that becoming a Christian is not about assenting to the
virgin birth or Christ’s resurrection like it was some sort of political
slogan. Becoming a Christian is about acknowledging the lengths that
God goes to be in relationship with us are enormous. There were no
lengths, no costs that God would not bear, no amount of time used that
God would not go to to express His love for us and for us to love Him
too. Being Christian is living and loving in the light of these actions
of a loving God.
Paul writes to the Ephesians that we are
"destined for adoption." He uses that phrase quite deliberately because
it describes the intimate love of God the Father, who aches with love.
He recognizes that His family is not complete. He already has children
but there are others still missing out from experiencing the love and
care not just of any family but His family. Adoption is about bringing
together a disperate family of ages, genders, races and sexes, all bound
together, all encompassed by His love. Story: Martina and Richard...
here is a belief that we are supposed to belong to God and God will
reclaim us. Just as the locket made its way back to the rightful owner
through a series of unbelievable events, we discover our destiny as we
make our way back to God through Jesus Christ in the unusual way of his
death and resurrection. It sounds beyond belief, but it is really grace
-- we are forgiven and brought back to God and this is what Paul means
as he writes to the Ephesians and us using this phrase ‘in Christ.’
adopted children ‘in Christ’, every experience is reframed, from our
most bracing joys and cherished achievements to our besetting
temptations, our most anguished regrets, and our most wounding losses.
"In Christ" we are joined to the power and presence of God Himself and
no longer have to make our way in the world alone without hope or
meaning. "In Christ" we are knit to others who will cry over our dead
with us even as they help us sing hymns of resurrection. At the same
time, being "in Christ" is no sentimental togetherness. You’ve heard the
expression ‘blood is thicker than water’ to describe family ties -
Christ’s blood shed on the cross is eternally thicker, for through it,
we are bound together with each other and with Him. But like all family
relationships this means sticking with each other, supporting one
another in love through the good and not so good alike.
know where your life is going? Where you are headed? Do you know where
you come from? Where you roots lie? Friends we live in an age where
many of us can’t easily answer those questions because of uncertainty at
work, because our relationships are stretched, because we live in what
many call a mobile population, because we may not know even the next
generation up in our own families. Many of us are looking to connect
ourselves to the past - look at the rise in interest in genealogy -
where do I come from? Even our family histories become something to
study - what did you do during the war Grandad, it’s for my history
Many of us are are looking to connect ourselves to
the future - look at the rise in self help books and life and career
coaching where is my life going? But at the moment it might be more
pressing and fundamental than that.
Paul remind the Ephesians and
us this morning that our lives past, present and future fluctuate and
change but they only begin to truly make sense when see life not as
about assenting to particular political slogans, or about decisions that
may or may not affect our present, or even something we do alone, but
life is something to be lived and loved because of a God who loves us no
matter what, searches us out no matter where we’ve been or where we are
and brings us back home.
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