Colossians: Spiritual Fullness in Christ
God’s word proclaimed… God’s will revealed… a gathering around the Table of our Lord (communion), a fellowship meal of food and friendship, a giving of thanks of graduates’ achievements, the revelation of Jesus as the ‘real deal’… all that on a Sunday morning? Gotta be there!
In a conversation with someone this week, I shared how wonderful it has been for me to preach through a book of the Bible. Colossians is gaining momentum for me as the letter develops in thought and flow. The author continues to reveal the marvelous wonder of Jesus and the love of God for the world and its people.
In conversations with several other people this week, it was clear that there are many other worldviews competing for the thoughts and hearts of people than that of God’s revelation in Jesus. I heard and witnessed everything from wandering disillusionment to deep despair. It seemed to me to be a deep yearning for truth, a grasping desperation for love, a profound searching for hope and meaning. And the message of Colossians comes alive for me.
Paul, out of deep love and concern for people, birthed out of God’s profound love for him in Jesus, puts up a huge stop sign for us, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental forces of this world rather than on Christ.” And then doesn’t stop there, but goes on to reveal what should captivate our minds, hearts, and ultimately our will – Jesus!
We’ve dabbled in the context of the audience of Paul’s letter by taking a look at some hollow and deceptive philosophies’ back then (syncretism/relativism) and find they are alive and well today. Yet, next to Jesus, there is no equal, none compares. Sunday, we will take a look at another ‘hollow and deceptive philosophy’ of that time in gnosticism. And Paul, will once again, point us to Jesus, who is the real deal.
This past week with all the rain and saturated soil, as canyon crevices and mountain aquifers filled up, Skunk Creek behind the house flowed with volume, speed, and power. In the process, the riff-raff from the banks of garbage and dead branches that accumulated were picked up and carried downstream. Right behind the Madison House, a dam formed, and quickly grew as garbage and dead branches clogged the river’s flow, backing up the water, leading to flood conditions.
In our lives, garbage collects over time in the corners of our hearts and minds, ‘hollow and deceptive philosophies’ lead us to dead places, leaving lots of dead branches to trip over. And when life gets tough, the rains come down and the waters rise, the garbage and dead branches get swept up, and collect in a tangled mess, and we feel like we are drowning. As the free flowing water in living life well is stopped up. This is where Jesus makes all the difference. He can remove the garbage of our lives. He can transform the dead ends of our lives with its dead branches into life again. In Jesus, the free flowing, life giving water of the Spirit can move unimpeded in and through us.
Check it out, gnosticism. Look it up, try to understand it. It has many different shapes and forms leading to different belief systems and branches of thought, leading to different behavior practices and life choices. Gnosticism was alive and well then… is alive and well now. And Paul once again will point us to the real deal – Jesus.
For Sunday, Colossians 2:6-15. See you at the party to end the weekend or begin the week, however you look at it, seems it would be both,