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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Colossians 1:1–14           

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully

giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NRSV)

Christ, in Colossians, is described so majestically. Colossians says that all things were created by him, through him, and for him. “He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him” (Colossians 1:17). Christ is described as “the image of the invisible God.” It brings to mind some of the medieval mystics’ descriptions of God as “the Life of life” (Hildegard of Bingen) and “God’s is-ness is my is-ness” (Meister Eckhart).

When I read Colossians, I think of Christ as being all pervasive, like the air we breathe, like the spirit that is the essence of life in all beings. If all things are held together in Christ, then Christ is all around us, holding us together.

If we think of it in that way, then to pray is to become open to the creation and to the spirit and energy of the creator. To breathe is to breathe in God. To meditate is to think about God in all God’s beautiful forms. To contemplate is to open ourselves, to ready ourselves, to let God’s love enter us and to let God’s presence comfort us.

Is that what Paul was doing when he prayed without ceasing for the people in the Colossian church? His prayers began with prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving. Then they became prayers of well-wishing and prayers of hopefulness for the people of the church in Colossae. He imagined the people transformed and maturing and bearing good fruits.

Through all those prayers he bound himself to them and bound them to God. And he prayed that they would have prayer too, that they would give joyful thanks to God and be bound together with other “saints” into one people, one kingdom, one commonwealth, one family, who shared a common inheritance.

How do our prayers bind us together?

Gracious and loving God, help me to pray without ceasing. Let my life be a prayer, whether I am cooking, cleaning, traveling, working, or sitting down for quiet reflection. Let it all be prayer, a drawing close to you, the Life of all life. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Minister for Congregational Life

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