Traditional: 8:45 AM Sunday
Contemporary: 11:00 AM Sunday
Refuel Your Faith: 6:30 PM Wednesday
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 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. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 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.” (Colossians 3:12-17, New Revised Standard Version)
This passage from Colossians beckons our attention today. It begins with instructions for our relationships with one another as the body of Christ. We are reminded – indeed, commanded by God – to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and most of all, love. This is applied to our relationships with one another: “Bear with one another… forgive… just as the Lord has forgiven you.” As Christians, we are not given the option of stirring up strife and withholding forgiveness as the world does; instead we are to live in community with the peace of Christ in charge of our hearts.
How might we accomplish this? After all, even the most mature among us get angry sometimes; become sad or disillusioned; or recognize large and serious fault in ourselves and in those around us. We might look at any number of passages, not the least of which is Matthew 18, in which Jesus gives us a step by step pattern for resolving conflict among believers. But in this passage, these instructions on personal character and the relationships in which we are intertwined precede a reminder of the foundation that we have in Christ Jesus. This is the foundation to which we must cling, and in which we must continually be rooted, if our character and relationships are to measure up to this standard.
The foundation in Christ is granted to us in Scripture and in Divine Worship: Verse sixteen says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Our instructing of one another is to come from a rich indwelling of holy Scripture in our hearts and minds. Are we engaged and rooted in holy Scripture throughout the week? We do well to include daily Scripture readings in our personal routine, as well as at least one other opportunity throughout the week to dive deeper into God’s word. Perhaps it is one of the Bible studies offered at All Saints. Perhaps it is a discipleship triad or quad. Perhaps it is a reflection on Scripture prior to gathering for another purpose, such as music rehearsal or a service project. The depth of our rootedness in Scripture will have a direct correlation to our character, and the genuineness of the love with which we related to others. Divine Worship forms the other piece of this God-given foundation: Verses sixteen and seventeen round out the picture of the Christian life with reference to proclamation of the Word, singing the content of the faith to God, and giving thanks in the name of the Lord Jesus. These are the activities of Divine Worship. We make worship a priority, because in it we are nourished and rooted in Christ Jesus, who rules in our hearts and dwells in us richly. When Jesus is in charge, kindness, compassion, gentleness, and love begin to define our character and community!