Summary: Where do we find thankfulness in this world.
"The Day the Sun Didn't Shine"
In 1883, It is said that in New England the Sun didn't rise! The people awoke to an eerie darkness. They went outside to do their chores in stony silence. No rooster crowed, no birds chirping, none of the usual sounds of a new day. At the very start, people began to gather in small groups to question what was happening, to wonder and discuss what was taking place. Slowly, people began to make their way to the Churches. They say that by twelve noon every Church in New England was filled to overflowing with people on their knees crying out to God. There were cries for mercy, people begging for forgiveness and others confessing their sins. They say that there were few people who didn't pray the day the sun didn't rise. The Churches were full late into the night.
As the next morning neared, great crowds began to gather on the hilltops and the high places near their homes and churches. People were staring toward the eastern horizon. Every eye was fixed on that point where the sky touched the land. Every eye watching, hoping to catch a glimmer of the first rays of the Sun. As the sun began to come up over the horizon, people began to shout and yell praise to God, they clapped, danced and rejoiced because the Sun shined on the land again. As if in one voice, they began to praise the Lord for the sunlight, the warmth and the joy of God's new day.
They had no idea that on the Island nation of Indonesia, the sleeping giant of a volcano, Krakatoa, had come to life. They had no idea that this great mountain had exploded sending a huge cloud of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere. This black cloud would be carried around the world by the jet stream. It was said to cover whole regions, covering the sky from horizon to horizon. Few people had any idea that a volcano, half way around the world, could create such a cloud that could block out the Sun. Yet for most of those people that the very first time they ever thanked God for the warmth and wonder of the Sun.
So as we look at situations like this, how do we go on? What is the point of continuing from here? Even here in this congregation, there are people that are hurting with their own losses. It may be the loss of a family member or friend, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, etc. But there is something that we have, right here in this room, that makes the difference.
I want you to open your Bibles with me to Ephesians chapter 1. Now before we get started looking at today’s passage let us spend just a few minutes to set the stage for the book. This is one of the books written by the Apostle Paul but there are some striking differences. Unlike most of Paul’s other books there is no usual greeting found in the beginning of the book. Also there is the absence of any news information or problems discussed in this book like Paul’s other writings. We do know that Paul spent a significant amount of time in Ephesus, approximately 3 years, as he worked in the area to convert many to the gospel message and establish the church.
Ephesus whose name means “desirable” was a hub of activity located on the west coast of Asia Minor. It was a very cosmopolitan place, a major stop on the trade routes, and it is in this setting that Paul delivers a very stirring message on unity in Christ and thankfulness for GOD’s goodness. And it is also in the setting of a prison that Paul writes to the church at Ephesus. That’s right, a prison. Do you remember he ended up in prison in Rome when he as a Roman citizen exercised his right and appealed to Caesar. What did Paul have to be thankful for while sitting in a prison?
Now, let’s get to our text, Ephesians 1:15-23 15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.