LENT REFLECTION - DAY 22
Our word today comes from Colossians 4.
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4: 5-6 The Message
These verses remind me of the verses in Ephesians that so powerfully encouraged us throughout the Covid pandemic; provoking us to try different ways of meeting and connecting within the guidance, in the hope we could keep our precious community connected and together even whilst being socially distanced.
15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:13 NRSVA
As we end the letter of Colossians Paul instructs us on how we as Christians should relate to unbelievers. He calls unbelievers outsiders, those outside of the family of faith and the Kingdom of God. In our post modern culture characterised by secularism, humanism and agnosticism we can often feel that we are the odd ones out and outsiders. I am sure you have had your own experiences of feeling like an outsider either for your faith or for other reasons. As a minister I have had many experiences of being othered, sometimes its because I am a female minister, other times it has been simply that I am a minister. Folks have ended a conversations (or tried too), once they have found out what I do.
Paul lived in pagan communities as a Christian where he was amongst a very small but growing minority of believers. Yet his faith and identity was so strongly rooted in Christ and the Kingdom of God, wherever he found himself, whether free or in prison, he knew himself to be an insider, in a Kingdom family of eternal belonging. He understood his reality to be very different than the world perceived. The Kingdom of God was being ushered in and he and the other believers were not to hide themselves away but to thoughtfully relate through grace filled conversations in a way that brought the best out of people. Being in Christ, changed the way people related! Relationships were transformed as believers simply shared about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The believers were known for their interdependence on one another, and their embrace of the vulnerable and those othered in society.
Father God, we thank You that we are insiders. We are Your children, part of Your Holy family and Your Kingdom reign being established here on earth. We ask that Your Kingdom would come and Your will be done in and through us. That like Paul we wouldn't hide away, but be ready to meet others in Your creation who are yet to receive Christ. Open doors for us to thoughtfully and gracefully speak of You and Your love to all, and especially the vulnerable and those who feel other today. Let us be those who bring the best out in people and gracefully make Jesus known. Amen.