Paul writes to the Colossians to redirect them from false teachings being introduced into the church. Paul gets to the point clearly, “Live your lives in [Christ] . . . just as you were taught.” Paul gives practical examples about what teachings to ignore.
As we interact with the world around us, many of us get sidetracked. We need spiritual community and spiritual mentors (like Paul to the Colossians) to redirect us and bring us back on course. Being a Christian is quite simple: Live in Christ. But being a Christian is quite challenging: Live in Christ. Some in the Colossian church have been distracted from their beliefs and their actions. So, Paul intervenes.
Christian community and spiritual mentors are God’s gifts. A sense of belonging grounds us and gives us focus. When we are sidetracked from our beliefs, the community (or the mentor) brings us back to the center. Paul is not harsh. He lovingly calls back the church to the basics of the faith and the rootedness of their community.
Most of us have been nourished in the love of a faith community. We have been nurtured in the truth of Christ. And we have been set free to continue to grow as disciples. Our belonging to a community roots us to a strong foundation. Our beliefs put in place a system of being and doing the work of God. Our becoming more like Christ moves us along this faith pathway, growing ever closer to God and one another. And, when we fall short, the community lovingly dusts us off, embraces us, and sends us out again restored.
Thank you, God, for the community of faith that has nurtured me in your love, for the spiritual mentors who have helped me understand your truth, and for your continued guidance as I become the disciple that you have called me to be. Amen.
Hosea can be a difficult book. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life? in your relationships with family and friends? in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How has your community restored you as you seek to be like Christ?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
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