Nightly news about the economy, politics, and world affairs is often bad news. We hear of attacks, abuses, pollutions, starvations, and contaminations. Most nights we wonder why we don’t ever hear any good news.
Yet Paul writes to the folk in Colossae because they have heard good news. Paul does not give any details about the good news, but he calls it “the true message” and acknowledges the people as sisters and brothers in Christ because of that good news. Jesus’ vision of the kingdom seems to be parallel to the priorities of God’s covenant from its earliest days: compassion for the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast. Something in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is good news for the people at Colossae. It changes their lives.
That good news changes the way we see ourselves, each other, and the world. We are no longer on the bottom rung of life; we are among those gathered together by Christ’s love—love that values us beyond measure. Paul notices that the good news changes the way the Colossians live. They now “bear fruit in every good work and as [they] grow in the knowledge of God.” The good news unskews the lines in our lives that no longer are parallel to the lines of unconditional justice and love that God embodied in Jesus.
All the bad news we digest is just evidence of lines skewed by fear and greed and hate. The gospel (which means good news) reorients those lines back to the meridians of love and grace that God intends.
What good news will change my life in the ways that you invite, O Christ? Take my life and draw it back into the parallel lines of your love and grace. Amen.
Amos is a farmer called by God to deliver a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom in the divided monarchy). Because the king has not listened to the warnings from God, judgment will come. The psalmist also warns of judgment, in this case for those who oppress the weak and needy and fail to protect them from the wicked. Such heartless people will surely be brought low by God. The opening to the letter to the Colossians is a prayer of thanksgiving for their faith in Christ and the spiritual fruit they are producing in the world. The parable in the Gospel reading challenges our human tendency to ignore need. Jesus teaches that mercy should overcome any reason we might find to harden our hearts.
Read Amos 7:7-17. Look for God’s plumb line in the world. In what ways is the ground you stand on askew?
Read Psalm 82. If you sit on the council of the Most High, how does this change your perspective on the world?
Read Colossians 1:1-14. Prayers of mere words are just the beginning of prayer. To what prayerful actions do your prayerful words call you?
Read Luke 10:25-37. The author writes, “Even those trying to be faithful walk askew.” Consider how you live out Jesus’ call to love your neighbor.
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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