Summary: How do we understand Pauls words to the Colossians regarding the person of Christ, and how it informs our lives and what we do, and who we are - A sermon as a prelude to Lent
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Social media for me is no longer simply a pastime to browse through at the end of the day, I now often find myself either working out what need to be added to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, or working out how I add Twitch to the list of ever-growing media accounts we have, to ensure that we can keep in touch with everyone and let them know what is currently happening in the benefice and how the latest legislation has affected how we continue to serve the benefice.
But every so often I come across something which has been posted and it makes me stop, and on Wednesday night as I sat thinking about whether to look at the Gospel or the Epistle, something popped up on my news feed. It simply read:
Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about discovering who God created you to be. (repeat)
It struck me that these fourteen words cut to the heart of both our Gospel and Epistle this morning.
First through the Gospel that great prologue of John, which is almost poetical as it introduces Christ through this awesome litany of who he has been, who he is now, who he will be, and all framed around the grace, love and light of God. We could of course say much, much more about Johns prologue, but while the Gospel sets that celestial scene for us, I believe that it is Pauls words to the church on Colossae which speak directly into our hearts today.
To understand that we need to understand why Paul said this to the church, and if we read back a little we can see the answer to that. Pauls said. ‘Epaphras has made known to us your love in the spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.’
While Pauls words were directed toward the Colossians, we also know that they were recorded so as to be able to inform all generations, including this one.
Whilst we live in a world shrouded in many places by darkness and despair, we are reminded today of where we should be placing our hope, not on the things of the world, those things which are inevitably going to let us down and disappoint us, but rather on the one who never disappoints.
It all sounds so easy doesn’t it, but any Christian who has strived to walk this path will tell you that it isn’t. Human beings are capable of great love, but equally we can display great hate, because our passions run deep into who we are as a race. We know our words can heal or harm, as can our actions.
Our ability to learn, grow and develop has allowed us to fight disease, most recently against COVID-19 and develop a vaccine, we have developed our wisdom to allow us to reach for the stars, but equally we harnessed the atom and developed Nuclear weapons.
We constantly sit in the middle of dark and light, and whilst the dark cannot overcome the light, the struggle is real for us all. We long for peace, prosperity and equality for all within this world, an end to discrimination in all forms and all unconscious bias, and while there is often a catalyst that prompts us to try to bring an end to all of this through words spoken and written, we inevitably find the dialogue is marred by ulterior motives and agendas.
This struggle doesn’t even have to be on such a grand scale, at times we will commit ourselves to a particular course of action, perhaps by offering to do something, or to exercise our gifts, and whilst we begin with all good intentions, obstacles can get in the way, and they distract us from our purpose and we give up.
Light and dark, hope and hopelessness, we often find ourselves torn between the two, between heaven and earth.
This is where Pauls words come to the foreground this morning.
His words remind us exactly who Christ is, not only the first in all creation, but the one who holds dominion over it all, whether natural or supernatural.
But more than that Paul reminds us that Christ is the head of the church, the body of men and women through the ages who have received salvation through his demonstration of pure love and grace upon the cross. That act which only he could perform to bring us into full relationship with God.