"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

Karl Barth, 20th-century theologian

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I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength. God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens, far above every ruler and authority and power and angelic power, any power that might be named not only now but in the future.

Ephesians 1:18-21

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It may not seem controversial now to say that Jesus sits “at God’s right side in the heavens... above every ruler and authority,” as today’s scripture says, but for the early Church, this was a huge claim. To say that Jesus was Lord wasn’t just a statement of faith — it was also a serious political statement. This is because Roman caesars often claimed language of lordship. Their subjects would say, “Caesar is Lord” as a statement of patriotism and loyalty to Rome. The phrase “Jesus is Lord” directly challenges the worship of Caesar.

And all this would have seemed ironic and confusing to the first people who heard it, since this man Jesus, whom they claimed to be Lord not just of Rome, but Lord of Lords, had been executed by the Roman government!

So when we read images of him as a king on a throne, we are witnessing a dramatic reversal — the claim that the man who was executed actually has power not just over Rome, but over the whole world!

Caitlin Harper

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O God of the unexpected,
You showed me that the power that runs the world
Looks like compassion and mercy.
When everything around me
Wants me to see power
As some kind of violent domination strategy,
Give me the courage to remember
What your power looks like.

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Knowing that the God who has authority over the whole universe made you and loves you, how will you celebrate this week?

Caitlin Harper

Caitlin Harper is a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She has just been approved as a provisional elder in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. She currently lives in southeastern Pennsylvania on a small-scale organic farm.

Attitude of Christ

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