Friday 02 January 2015

Bible Book:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (v. 17)

Colossians 3:12-17 Friday 2 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 98:1-3


The writer of the letter to the Colossians takes a cosmic viewof what God has done in Jesus Christ. The one who was before allthings has become mortal in order to reconcile all things back toGod. This is the triumphant hope that an apostle of the gospel(Paul) is charged with proclaiming. It means that everything haschanged and that those who have accepted the message findthemselves changed also. They have been made "God's chosen ones,holy and beloved" (v. 12). The passage today is part of a longerseries of exhortations to the Colossians to live out thistransformation.

Central to the response is thanksgiving. The epistle is repletewith declarations of gratitude and injunctions to be thankful. Inthis passage there is the instruction in verse 15 ("Be thankful"),the comment in verse 16 on how hymns should be sung ("withgratitude in your hearts"), and the summation of the section inverse 17 describing how everything should be done ("giving thanksto God the Father").

Thankfulness, though, is a secondary virtue. The primary callingof the Christian is to love (verse 14). The writer uses an image ofgetting dressed which (though it is not helpful to push the analogytoo far) sees the top garment as love. The Christians have alreadybeen urged to put on those things which result from love -"compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (v. 12) -and to be forgiving. Again, it is clear that this is all inresponse to what God has done: those who have been forgiven arecalled on to forgive (verse 13); those who are "beloved" (v. 12)are to love (verse 14).

The letter is clearly addressed to a community; Christians areto work out their response to God's action together. They shouldencourage each other and it is notable that the singing of hymnsseems to be part of the way in which they build each other up(verse 16). This is a church that is being transformed by thegospel (the good news of Jesus) as the word of Christ dwells inthem.

To Ponder

  • One of the traditional strengths of Methodism has been itshymnody which has been vehicle for teaching, as well as a resourcefor worship. When has the singing of hymns served to build you oryour church up in faith?
  • After all the giving and receiving of presents, this may be atime when you are writing thank you letters. Is this simply a dutyor is it a way to express the thankfulness of your heart? What canthis practice teach us about offering our thanks for the birth ofthe Word made flesh which has changed everything?
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