23 October 2014

Colossians 3:12-17

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” (v. 15)


Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9) and there have been many snide and cynical versions of this saying. It doesn't inspire confidence is a wicked world!

There is an incredulity in all human hearts that all we have learnt about violence and force is fundamentally wrong, and that the Christ way is the only way that will actually win at the end of the day. Paul plays with this: 'Let peace rule'. But peace can't rule. Surely peace gets disturbed and broken too easily to rule anything. Paul's invitation to "clothe yourselves" (v. 12) is similarly an unlikely and almost playful metaphor. The writer of Ephesians goes further: 'Put on the whole armour of God' (Ephesians 5:11). Instead of physical armour we are given a whole list of human attitudes and characters which make us vulnerable and easy prey to the violence of others (Ephesians 5:14-17).

But in Colossians this peace isn't just any peace. It is the 'peace of Christ' that is to rule. Christ is God made Flesh. So we asked to be gentler than gentle with ourselves and others, so gentle that peace itself can rule; peace that can be rejected and disturbed given our gracious permission to oversee our troubled and turbulent hearts. For Christ reveals in his peace the love that made all things and mends all things to God's glory.

To Ponder

  • Allow the phrase, 'peace rule in you hearts', to touch you. Where are you ungentle with yourself or with others?
  • Feel the vulnerability of trusting God's way of rule and give that fearfulness to God in prayer.

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Born in Africa to missionary parents, Mark Wakelin is a Methodist minister, He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Chuch.