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Sunday, May 11, 2014
Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:15–23
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. (NRSV)
Most of us have people in our lives whom we rarely see but care about very much—family, good friends who have moved away. If we are lucky, whenever we see them again, we pick up right where we left off.
For the people who wrote the Bible, encounters with distant friends were much fewer and farther between than they are for us. Letters like this one to the members of the church at Colossae might have been the only form of communication between friends in months or even years. In between, babies were born, sons and daughters grew up and were married, and parents were laid to rest. Sometimes the introductions to these New Testament letters include specifics like that; other times they focus on the ties that bind us together. That’s what is happening here.
No matter how long it has been or how long it will be, wherever we go, says the author, we are held together by the love and grace of Jesus Christ. He is “the firstborn of all creation”—that means that he has been by our side in every place and time. He was there when we were crawling around in diapers, nervous in junior high school, excited to fall in love, scared to death of being parents, and curious late in life about what legacy we might leave. Through it all, Christ is there. Whatever times, places, or events separate us, in Christ we are brothers and sisters forever. Thanks be to God.
Gracious God, we thank you for claiming us as your own, for keeping us always in your care as we walk through this life, and for welcoming us home at the last. Amen.
Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship
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