Scripture text for Friday, April 30th, 2010: Colossians 1:1-23
Is this world all there is? Is what we see and experience the beginning and the end of life? Is Willy Nelson right when he says, and I am paraphrasing here, “Life’s not so good and then you die?” Or, alternatively, is there more to this world and our experience than meets the eye or than that we know from our experience?
In Colossians 1, Paul describes Christ and in his description it is clear that he understands Christ to be beyond this world, before and above and sovereign over creation. Yet Christ also physically entered creation as the divine Son of God, the “image of the invisible God” (v. 15), and made redemption possible. The language of this passage is stirring and lofty. The passage reminds us that the most significant things have and will continue take place beyond our ability to see.
The other major idea in this passage concerns us and our position outside of Christ and then having received him. As individuals we were alienated from God but now, in Christ, can be reconciled to him.
I see this pattern of alienation and reconciliation in my life not only in my relationship with God but also in my relationship with others. Sometimes the events of life or our own foolishness or selfishness pull us away from others – we become alienated. Even as followers of Christ we can find that sinful habits can at least make us feel alienated from God. (He loves us through those times, and accepts us, even if we feel far from Him). And then when reconciliation occurs we are brought back near and the world, and our relationships in it, feels right again.
Like many teenagers, I had braces. Boy those were a lot of fun in so many ways. When I finally realized what the orthodontist was actually doing in my mouth – using pliers and wires and bands to literally pull – crank seems like the better word here – my teeth into alignment, I was amazed! It was so mechanical, I remember thinking, I could get a friend to do this, it’s just pulling on the wires and clipping them a bit every other week. I am now glad I did not go with that idea. Now, thirty years later, many of those teeth that were perfectly aligned when I first got my braces off are …. Out of alignment! Well this same pattern is an inevitable part of all aspects of our lives and relationships – they will become unaligned or alienation of one type or one degree or another will set in. And this is where our faith reminds us of what we need to do – be reconciled. We do that with God through repentance, confession, and receiving his forgiveness and it turns out that is often precisely what we need to do with others. I could go back and get my once aligned, now unaligned teeth re-straightened but I think I’ll just try it myself with just a few bands, wires, and a good set of pliers.
Devotion prepared by Dave Timmerman