Tonight’s class in Bracknell is focussed on the passage, Colossians 2.16-23. It deals with our freedom in Christ and the issues that can take us on a reverse course back to enslavement if we are not alert.
Part of our evening will be spent discussing the following questions:
1. What are the Colossians being tempted by?
2. Why is it so tempting to them?
3. What is the danger to them?
4. What is the better alternative available to them?
5. What are the better consequences for them?
6. What is the relevance for our lives here in this church?
If you have any thoughts on these questions I’d be glad to hear them. Leave a comment below and let’s work together to remain “free”.
I missed church today. A bug has got hold of my system and refuses to let go. What to do? It’s an interesting situation, because I’m well enough to walk around and do stuff. But not well enough to talk to people. I’ll confess that I’m pretty good at feeling sorry for myself and often find having a “Quiet Time” a struggle when I’m ill.
Well, the sun beckoned me outdoors. I picked up a book of Celtic prayers I use from time to time, and set up a chair in the garden. The book took me to some set readings for the 1st March (Aiden readings). I’m so glad I spent this time with God, so, since I am prevented from fellowship today, I thought I’d share with you what God shared with me.
The first reading was,
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalms 62:1–2 NIV11)
Just what I needed to hear. Especially the word “shaken” which can also mean “totter” in the Hebrew (mot). I needed “rest” in God this morning, and I found it, in the sunshine, with Psalm 62 speaking to my heart. No need to “totter” in my heart even if I am “tottering” in my health!
The New Testament reading was from Ephesians,
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:18–23 NIV11)
I read this passage from my New Greek/English Interlinear New Testament. I know a little Greek, but not a lot. However, following the Greek and English together gave me a feel for Paul’s thinking. Two things stood out.
Firstly, the emphasis on “all” by the repeated use of “and”:
“…far above all rule and authority and power and Lordship and every name being named…” Eph 1.21 literal translation (italics mine).
Nothing has been left out. Jesus has it “all” under control. I may not have my health under control, but Jesus is still Lord, and I need not worry about my spiritual health.
Secondly, the emphasis on “fullness” by the way Paul places the words in verse 23,
“..which is the body of him, the fullness of the one all with all filling.” Eph 1.23 literal translation (italics mine).
The translation might not make much sense in English, but the emphasis is there for all to see. Paul wanted to make sure the Ephesians didn’t miss the source of their fullness (see Colossians for more on this topic, Col 1:9, 19, 24–25, 28; 2:2, 9–10; 4:6, 12), and the completeness of it.
I may not be ‘completely’ well, but I share in the completed work of Christ, and am confident in his fullness even as I lack full health at this moment in time.
Finally, let me share with you the meditation of the day. It’s a prayer/poem by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and it expresses what I felt today at the conclusion of my “Quiet Time”,
It is a difficult
lesson to learn today,
to leave one’s friends
and family and deliberately
practise the art of solitude
for an hour or a day
or a week.
For me, the break
is most difficult …
And yet, once it is done,
I find there is a quality
to being alone that is
Life rushes back into the void,
fuller than before!
I hope your time at church today has left you “fuller than before”.