Paul begins his letter by addressing the readers as “saints and faithful brothers and sisters.” He goes on to thank God for the life and witness of the Colossians and continues to wish them God’s blessings.
The blessings Paul names may be a bit surprising. Many people today understand blessing so materialistically that only the rich are viewed as the blessed of God. Preachers who promise prosperity have adoring fans and some of the largest followings.
Strength and power are promised in this letter, but not strength and power to get anything we want. It is the strength to endure everything that comes to us as we bear our cross and follow Christ. The way of the cross is filled with pain and suffering. But God gives us the special strength and power to endure and to overcome.
In the midst of it all, we joyfully give thanks to God because we have been transferred into the reign of Christ. That reign enables us to rejoice over Christ’s redemption and forgiveness of sin. To live under the reign of Christ is to accept cheerfully and thankfully moments of agony and moments of ecstasy.
A thankful heart lifts us up into the skies, so that our suffering moments look tiny. The same thankful heart takes us down to the depths of the sea to enjoy the beauty of God’s grace that sustains us from underneath. What a rich blessing God has for us as we journey through our life! Thanks be to God!
Loving Lord, you have given us everything. We ask you for one thing more—a thankful heart. Amen.
Our readings for the week highlight the Reign of Christ. Jeremiah prophesies about a future King from the line of David who will bring justice, righteousness, and security for the people of God. Luke 1 records the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah praises God for raising up salvation from the house of David as God had promised through the prophets. This child will bring mercy, forgiveness, and light. Luke 23 recounts part of the story of the death of Jesus. Here Jesus, the Light of the world, dies as an act of mercy for our forgiveness. In Colossians, Christ holds first place above everything else. Through his death we are forgiven and brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. How do you trust in God’s promises to bring safety and justice as you watch unjust rulers oppress and abandon their followers?
Read Luke 1:68-79. What will you say when you break your silence?
Read Colossians 1:11-20. Recall a time when you waited for something in great anticipation. How did your faith help you find patience?
Read Luke 23:33-43. How do you recognize Christ as King when you experience or witness suffering?
Respond by posting a prayer.