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Monday, April 27, 2015

Today’s Reading | Colossians 3:12–17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 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. (NRSV)

Whenever I read this passage from Colossians, I am always reminded of the many wedding couples who wish to use it as one of the readings in their service. It is a beautiful passage—one that lays out a clear vision for how we are to be in relationships with one another in ways that are mutually beneficial. It also, of course, sounds nearly impossible for us to uphold! Every relationship, not just that of couples, goes through periods that are tense, strained, or even broken. So how can we reconcile our imperfect relationships with others even as we claim an identity as God’s people?

The image that Paul presents in this passage of how God’s people should act is no doubt idyllic, but just as with prayers, readings, and vows that are in a wedding service, much of what Paul writes is aspirational. We will not be perfect to one another, but we must strive to be ever closer to that ideal, even as we confess where we fall short and forgive others for being human as well. It is through this aspirational spirit that we discover new capacities for heart and mind in our daily living, and it is through the practice of these behaviors that they become engraved in our lives.

Dear Lord, remind me that even in the times when I feel broken, unkind, or unlovable, you believe that I am whole, compassionate, and beloved. Challenge me to embody the aspirations that you have for me, and shape me that I might come ever closer to the person you have called me to be. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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