Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.
Paul is a dynamic preacher and theologian. He scribes the letter to the people of Colossi in 60 AD. This first-generation congregation needs to hear the truth about Jesus and his saving deeds. They struggle with heresy, that is unorthodox teaching and practices that have no base in God. Many scholars note that the Colossians had been attached by false teachings from false teachers. Paul seeks to safeguard God’s people from false teachings through this letter. So, Paul reminds these faithful Christians and us about God’s grace and love for His people. Images of God’s grace are seen through our growth in the gospel, in the reign of Christ, and in the coming of the Kingdom through Jesus. Paul reminds the readers of God’s grace in us through Christ being in us. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Paul notes, is a scared moment in which grace is given, and we are inheritors of God’s gracious gift of eternal life.
As these first century brothers and sisters in Christ experience spiritual, emotional, and physical attacks for their faith in Jesus, our tires spin in the same muddy experiences. Over 500 Christians have been massacred this summer in Ethiopia. A group composed of young men, called Qeerroo, have moved from Christian to Christian home to murder Christians. Christian pregnant women, children, and entire families are targeted. Their instruments of death are guns, machetes, swords and spears. Police stood and watched these murders unfold. Closer to home reveals our state and city governments banning Christian worship, and yet welcoming massive gatherings of protestors who do not social distance or wear masks. On college campuses, Christians are regularly demeaned, debased, and targeted for their belief in God. Academics, social groups, and college organizations ridicule by calling them bigots and hateful people. In Moscow, Idaho, several Christians not wearing mask were arrested for sing the psalms, scripture, outside in front of city hall.
In the fourth chapter, Paul offers to us a step necessary for Christians. He writes, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossian 4:2). Steadfast Prayer grounds us in our walk of faith. It is easy to allow our human nature to lash out to say or do things which could be harmful to us, to God, and even to those in need of Jesus! Recently, stepping away from my beginning response to Facebook post takes away my harmful words that can push others away. “Steadfastly” means to preserver and to be diligent. Prayer should not be a once a week moment which entails a sentence seeking an answer for personal gain. Prayer practiced multiple times daily affirms our trust in God, and grounds us in the Lord. In relational disagreements it is to shot off our mouths and speak be before thinking. Pause to prayers offers to us a moment to turn God and to consider God’s council to our situation. Bad health news from our doctors usually draws people to depression, and yet seeking the Lord through prayer gives us a divine moment to consider that God is with us in this painful moment and to discover solace and support. Our unified COVID-19 experience is instrumental in the exponential growth in depression, alcohol and substance abuse, family violence, and suicide. Seeking God through this crippling moment opens the door to experiencing God’s affirming love, and God’s gracious guidance. Prayer is special step we take to open new ways of living in this uncertain time.
As Paul shares, let us “rejoice always, pray without ceasing,” and “give thanks in all circumstances!” (1 Thessalonians 5:16.