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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Today’s Reading | Colossians 1:24–2:7
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.

For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (NRSV)

Reflection
The Nicene Creed is the oldest statement of Christian faith included in our Presbyterian Book of Confessions. It unites us with the church universal and ties us to the early communities that struggled with what it meant to believe in and follow Jesus.

For example, the Nicene Creed addressed an important early Christian controversy days: What is the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Creator? Jack Rogers, writing about the Nicene Creed and this question, said, “The question is Jesus’ relationship to God and to us as humans. What is at stake . . . is our salvation: How may we as humans be related to God?”

The answer the Nicene Creed offers all of us is that, yes, Jesus Christ was indeed essentially linked to God, being made of the same substance—and because Jesus was also fully human, in him, we could also be connected to God. Long before this was established as Christian orthodoxy, Paul urged us to see things the same way. He makes this bold claim: “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” And he urges all of us to see ourselves the same way: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Jack Rogers, Presbyterian Creeds, p. 49).

Prayer
God our Creator, I know that you have been with your people through the ages, just as you are with us today. Though I proclaim you to be incomprehensible, far beyond the bounds of the world that we know, I also thank you for the assurance—handed down through our tradition—that you came near to us in Jesus Christ; that, through him, you are in each one of us. Help me to live my life in the light of this truth. May the good work you began in Jesus be furthered in my own body and my actions. Amen.

Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism


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