3D Devotional 8.2.2019

Colossians 2:6-19 NRSV
6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
16Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

The challenge issued to readers of Colossians is one that remains for Christians in the twenty-first century: is this proclamation about Christ’s death an image by which we are prepared to live? Christians enthusiastically say “yes”. Do we believe that this answer to the power of evil is really sufficient? The Gospel proclaims that Christ has conquered evil. Yet evil still threatens and flourishes. Therefore, are additional resources needed to cope with the reality of evil in our world? Evidently some of the original readers of Colossians were willing to turn to angelic powers for help with this very problem. Even worse they thought this was compatible with Christian faith. They reasoned that their confession of Jesus as Lord needed to be supplemented with other means of coping with the forces of evil as it touched their daily lives.

How do we twenty-first century Christians deal with the situation where it appears that the power of evil has not been defeated by the power of Christ’s death? All Christians profess Christ’s lordship; we say "yes” to that, but too many of us make deals with other powers like materialism, rationalism, pragmatism, or violence, in order to live with the impact of evil on our lives and society. For all of us who profess Christ as our Lord a major test of authentic adherence to the gospel is whether we are convinced enough of the sufficiency of God’s action in the crucified Jesus.We gamble our lives on the paradoxical power of the cross rather than making compromises with other powers.

O God, give to each of us the courage to trust that you have defeated evil through the cross of our Lord Christ. Fill us with your love that we may follow your will for us to the end of our days in this world. Amen.
Ken Casey

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