Text: Colossians 1:24-2:7
For courage to move toward spiritual maturity
For those who’ve you not seen for some time
The old children’s book The Secret Garden begins with an unsparing look at the central figure of the story: Mary Lennox, who, we learn, is a spoiled and insufferable child, who can only treat others with contempt. If you are familiar with this story, you may protest that there are good reasons for Mary to be as she is; there are tragedies and setbacks in ample supply. But Mary is who she is, and the rest of the story is about whether and how she can turn from petulant immaturity to open and generous maturity. As you might expect, part of her “cure” is a change of community, where she rubs shoulders with rough yet kind and good-natured folks who give her space and opportunity to grow.
There is something similar in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, where he talks of how he is at work—even striving—to help everyone that has been called to life in Christ to grow to maturity. While his core mission is to proclaim the Gospel to the larger Roman world, he understands that as he does what he is supposed to do, the men and women who are now a part of his community are changing as a result of their encounter with the good news he shares and the churches he leaves behind. Our lesson ends with a wonderful admonition: you have received Christ; live in him! Put your roots deep in him for optimal growth! Let the structure of your life be built on him as a sturdy foundation!
We may protest that we are simply who we are, but Paul will not let us off the hook, no more than the folks of The Secret Garden did for Mary Lennox. The glory of God has been made know to us; let us use that knowledge wisely.
Easter joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks