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  • Writer's pictureRev. Drew Stockstill

All Tied Up

Friday, May 1, 2020

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Morning Psalm- Psalm 8

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

Scripture Reflection

Colossians 3:12-17

12 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.

The first suit I bought was for my wedding, ten years ago this August. The second suit was for my ordination as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, eight years ago this September. I still have both suits and wear them, just as I gratefully wear both vocations of spouse and pastor. Entering into those new vocations came with the making of vows, answering questions, publicly declaring my intentions and hearing those of my spouse and my church. I was being clothed with a new self as spouse and pastor and it called for clothing myself in a new suit.

The church the Apostle was writing to was in an in-between space, a liminal space. They would emerge from this time, not just individuals who believed in Jesus as God’s son and their savior, they emerged as his church, as one body. They were taking on a new life and it called for some new digs. Paul concludes his letter to the Colossians with very fundamental guidance on what is vital in healthy, mutual, committed relationships. Belonging to a church is a committed relationship, we are committed to God and each other. As I said yesterday, it calls for a bath (baptism) and a new set of clothes. Paul tells the church that as we give ourselves to each other in the relationship of discipleship our new clothes must be: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Any long-term committed relationship must have these attributes in abundance. “Above all,” says Paul, “clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Paul began this letter saying that in Christ all things, “hold together.” He concludes by saying it’s Love that binds it all together.” His love is what Jesus uses to holds all things together: he’s using love like a tether, love to tie us all together.

“Blessed be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.”

We are emerging in many and various ways, a new people. While a virus has made that apparent, it has always been the case, we are always being made new in God’s love for us. The Apostle’s guidance is very relevant as we imagine bravely how we will come back together. Let us be content and confident in the foundations of our faith practice, those things that are carrying us through even now: the teaching of the Bible, with “grateful hearts the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God,” the prayers for each other. We have all been through a great ordeal and we are recommitting ourselves to each other and to God, so let us sort through our closets now and toss out what is of the old life, and put on what we need in abundance as we sort things out as a community. Put on garments of tenderness for each other, wear the utmost patience as we find a new rhythm of life, put on an eagerness to forgive each other for our missteps and for what will fall through the cracks. This is new territory for us all.

Dearly Beloved, most of all notice the feeling of the bindings, the cords of love that Christ has wrapped around you to hold you close to him, the bonds of love that he has been using all this time to hold us all together, even when we are apart, the bonds of love that are all the tighter as we pass through dark valleys, as we move through the grave. Let the assurance of those bonds, give you peace and fill your hearts today with gratitude.

Paul’s final words of the letter: “Remember my chains. Grace be with you.”

Beloved, remember our chains. We are bound to Christ. We are bound together.

Grace be with you. Amen.

Let us Pray:

Satisfy us with your love in the morning,

and we will live this day in joy and praise.

Eternal God,

we praise you for your mighty love given in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross,

and the new life we have received by his resurrection.

Especially we thank you for

ministries of teaching and pastoral care . . . those who work to help and heal . . . sacrifices others have made for our benefit . . . opportunities for our generous giving . . .

the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering . . .

People of God, for what else do we give thanks? Add your own prayers of thanksgiving.

God of grace,

let our concern for others reflect Christ’s self-giving love, not only in our prayers, but also in our practice.

Especially we pray for

the church in Latin America . . .

a right relationship between humans and the earth . . . those who are wounded or face death . . .

those who keep watch over the sick and dying . . .

all who speak up and take action for what is right . . .

And for Dick Shepley and his family, the family of Ed Sherrick, Mary, Sharon and Tom Herrold, Duana, Brenda and Cliff, Bob, Rochelle, Karen and Steve, Barb and Butch, Sharron Blezard, Marcia, John and Susan, Rose, Phil and Alice, Stanley Hope, Jake, John, Julie, the nurses of our Medical Outreach Clinic and…

People of God, for what else do we pray? Add your own prayers.

Almighty God, you have made us in your image and crowned us with honor and glory.

Shape us by your Word and fill us with your Spirit so that we may live as your beloved children

and proclaim your saving love to our life’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.

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