“So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).
Always a highlight in ministry is celebrating new beginnings and renewed commitments. One prayer and desire I have for the precious folks who came to the waters this past Sunday at our beachside service is summed up in Colossians 2:2-15. I like Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in the Message (see below). First some photos.
2-4 I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery! I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or “the Secret” …
6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
8-10 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.
11-15 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.”
I love the idea of being “woven into a tapestry of love.” That’s the community of Christ when we’re all living out our baptismal identity. We need each other for the journey ahead. We need to speak grace to one another. Confess sins to one another. Proclaim forgiveness to each other. Hold each other up in hard times. Celebrate together in good times. Bear with one another when we’re grumpy and mean. Sharpen one another through spiritual practices. Offer our gifts to one another for the building up of the community and furthering of God’s mission.
What a life! What a mission! What a privilege! What a responsibility.
Powerful Spirit, fill these souls and empower this church as we keep our tired hands to the plow!