Colossians 2:6-15

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See 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.

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when 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.

And 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, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:6-15

From the very beginning of the Christian movement there has always been tension among those who seek to follow Jesus. As often as people describe the Bible as a “rulebook” or a “guidebook” for life – which always sounds so good given our heart-felt desire for such an easy paint-by-the-numbers path through life – the unavoidable truth is that it doesn’t work that way.

The faith has always been messy. There has always been conflict around who we ought to follow as we follow Jesus. Paul lived with those controversies and tensions. He also rose above them by steadfastly pointing to Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and the resurrected body of the church. We very well can find ourselves at different points on the circle but the center will always be Jesus. This, even the internecine arguments, must be God’s plan for us. To get us talking about things worth talking about.

In today’s reading we hear two strong arguments. That we “continue to live your lives in him [Jesus], rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,” and that we “see 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.” We get that. There is a difference between Jesus and those who would twist Jesus to their own desires. We get that. It is just hard for us to know sometimes how to tell the difference.

So what are we to do? We are to do our lives. We constantly pray “Lord, what would you have me do?” We are to be mindful this morning, and every morning, that we have been baptized into Christ. We died with Christ so that we might walk in newness of life. And what is so new about it? It is rooted in love and guided by law, not the other way around.

Let us pray: Jesus who have named and claimed us as your own. As you prayed that we might be one, we are. In you. The mysterious movement of the Holy Spirit keeps us united even as the winds around keep tossing us about. You are Lord and we are yours. Let that be enough. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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