We are Easter People!
Colossians 3:9-11 (MSG)
“... You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.”
We are Easter people! We believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and through him we are new creations - we have a new self, a new wardrobe to wear. This new self, though, isn’t just something that happens to individuals, but it’s something that applies to the whole church. We - together - are a new people in Jesus Christ!
All of us come into Church of the Holy Spirit with different backgrounds, experiences and gifts. Yet, Paul (the author of the book of Colossians) says none of these backgrounds define us when we’re gathered as the church. The huge religious, cultural and social differences of that time (for example between Jew and Gentile, or slaves and free men) were no longer to mean anything for the Colossians. The same applies to us today. The local church is a community that makes every man-made difference unimportant.
The local church is like this, not because we’re simply ‘into equality’, but because we’re Christ’s people. He’s absolute, and what he has done at the cross is final. So every other marker of who we are has been made, relative to him, unimportant. The one thing that truly matters in the local church is Christ. He "is all, and is in all" (Colossians 3:11 NIV). And we show that we take this seriously by minimizing every other kind of man-made division and difference. Ultimately, Christ is glorified and honored by our unity in the middle of many differences, because we define ourselves by him alone.
So, this week, as we continue to shelter-in-place and carry out only essential business, I challenge you to think how we as the body of CHS can promote this “everyone is included in Christ” thinking and acting within our church.
Let us pray.
"O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. (BCP, page 818)