Tuesday, October 10, 2006

start with praise (a short reflection)

I’ve been meditating on the book of Ephesians lately (specifically, the first two and a half chapters). And it just struck me the other day:

Paul is writing a letter to these people and the first thing that pours out of his mouth after the initial greeting is praise. I mean, literally.

Taking a step back, Paul does makes note of a few things before he gets to this point in his letter. First, he reaffirms his identity and vocation: he’s an apostle, called by God to serve the saints. Then, he pronounces a blessing upon them, invoking God’s grace and peace.

Calling, blessing, grace. Three huge, life-defining, life-changing realities.

I’ve often heard Christians make a big deal out of the fact that Paul always begins his letters with grace, and I believe they are justified in doing so.

That’s why I think it’s interesting that the body of the letter begins with praise. In light of God’s call (a voice that beckoned Paul—and us—out of the kingdom of darkness to walk in his glorious light) and in light of God’s grace, why wouldn’t one bubble over with praise from the very beginning?

Now, just let that truth sink in for a little bit:
the first word out of Paul’s mouth,
once he greets the Ephesians and establishes the given circumstances,
is praise.

That got me to thinking: How often is “praise” the first word on my lips? And what would happen if it was?

Won’t you join me this week in “trying this on”? Let’s clothe our speech with praise. Let praise be the first thing on your lips, because He has given us His grace and has called us to join Him in His very special work of redemption.

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