With Hearts Enlightened

A Bible study from the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas,
Fall 2020 

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power (Ephesians 1:17-19).

When Bishop David Reed chose the diocesan theme for 2020 from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he had no idea how this difficult year would unfold.  Mindful of the uncivility, anger, and divisiveness that had been growing increasingly more prevalent in our society, Bishop Reed says he wanted “a theme that spoke of vision, of looking out from our present circumstances to a God-promised future.” He found it in Ephesians 1:18 : “With the eyes of your heart enlightened.”

“As 2020 has unfolded (or careened out of control),” says the bishop, “the durability of this gentle theme has been amazing. For me, its effect has been almost like a church bell, calling us to stop and turn our attention to the Lord and giver of life. To see with the eyes of our hearts enlightened helps us find our way through the relentless noise and clutter, living with hope and trusting that the Spirit is leading us to a new day.”

The Apostle Paul called the early Christian believers in Ephesus to this same orientation as they continued in the faith they had received. In the early verses of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the apostle prays that God will bestow on them a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Through this, he asks that they may know
the hope of God’s calling,
the wealth of the glory of God’s inheritance among the saints,
the immeasurable greatness of God’s power. 

And in all this, Paul prays that the believers will see “with the eyes of their hearts enlightened.” – that is, see by the light of Christ’s spirit – which they have been given by virtue of their acceptance of Christ as the Lord of their lives.

In this six-week study of the 2020 diocesan theme, we will look at each of Paul’s petitions in our own day. We have invited six people to reflect on Paul’s prayer – men and women, clergy and laity from around the diocese – and each week will include their written reflections and an audio interview.

In week 1, Bishop David Reed speaks more about the choice of this verse to guide the diocese in 2020.

Read Bishop Reed’s written reflections on the theme.

Listen to Bishop Reed discussing why he chose this theme for 2020.

Week 2, wisdom and revelation: God’s wisdom, says the Rev. Daniel Strandlund, is a kind of vision – the power to see things clearly. For us, wisdom is recognizing who Jesus really is and in what circumstances we might expect to find him.

Read Daniel’s reflection on wisdom and revelation, including some questions for reflection.

Listen to a conversation between Daniel Strandlund and Marjorie George.

Week 3, Liz Manning recalls an incident when she was able to see with the eyes of her heart enlightened that God would bring new life out of devastation.

In week 4, Drew Cauthorn will relate the hope he has found in the “men in white” in a Texas prison.

Week 5, the Rev. Reagan Gonzales will speak about our glorious inheritance among the saints.

In the final week, Clark Hendley reminds us that we call on the power of God daily even as we pray “for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”

Our study begins October 12 and continues through November 16.

We welcome your comments. If you have questions, email Marjorie George at marjorie.george@dwtx.org.