LENT REFLECTION - DAY 19
This week we are in the book of Colossians a letter written by the Apostle Paul, whilst he was in prison. Colossians is a letter nestled in our New Testaments between two other letters: Philippians and 1 Thessalonians. In Paul, the authors lifetime, Colossae was an Asian city, smaller and of less significance than Hierapolis or Laodicicea and not so far from Ephesus. I like this power packed letter reminding us that the Gospel isn't supposed to be complicated or allusive. This reminds me of the early Pentecostals who preached a simple but powerful message, that was in its earliest form inclusive and counter cultural.
In Colossae the culture was influencing the church. A heresy had developed that was mis-shaping the Gospel and as a consequence believers. The Colossae Heresy was a confusing muddle of often contradictory beliefs. Including views like: the dualistic view that Spirit is good and matter evil, asceticism (denial of the body), that salvation depended on rituals (works not Christ), that Angels should be worshipped, that their was 'secret' knowledge to be discovered, human wisdom to be applied, that immorality was ok for Christians, and that believers could be synchronistic, integrating other faiths in their beliefs and spiritual practices. Underlying these heretical beliefs was the implication that Christ was deficient and insufficient. It incensed Paul, that the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel was being distorted and believers faith distorted and diminished.
The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ!
Colossians 1: 26-29, The Message.
Today, we are bombarded, with many different perspectives on life and faith. These come through our news sources, books and films, and the people we interact with on and offline. In our post modern times almost anything goes. If we live unguarded and unaware, these perspectives and heresies subliminally impact our thinking and journey of faith. We can find ourselves confused about the significance of things and feelings which isn't the way of Christ. Speaking of believers Paul says:
From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
Colossians 2: 9-11, The Message.
So this week we will remind ourselves of the simple message of Christ - that Christ is the Son of the One true living God, head of the Church, and that we have been made for union with God through Christ. We will strengthen our faith together, and focus on living with less confusion and complication, and more Christ!
Everything has been created through Christ and for Christ. (1: 15-20)
Christ is all I and others need to be saved, and to truly be a child of God. (2: 11-15)
This pastoral letter has four chapters. Why not read one a day or stop for 10-15 minutes and read in one sitting. Or you could even do both. Reading the word several times will increase its impact upon you and deepen your understanding. I particularly like The Message translation. But other good translations are the NRSVA, NIV, NASB and NLT.
You can read or listen to this by following this link:https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+1&version=MSG
Father God, we praise You for Your love and generosity in sending Your Son to reveal Your love and remove that which separates us from a life with You. We recognise that Your Son is our sufficiency and we thank You for all He has done for us. Help to be led by Your Holy Spirit and this week to keep things simple. Help us to disregard that which is not true to Christ. To not fall into confusion in our faith, or to get things muddled or over complicated. But to understand what Christ has done for us, and the freedom he has called us too. Help us in this, help all others in this too for Your glory in Christ Jesus. Amen.