pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Clothe Yourselves

Reading: Colossians 3: 12-14

Verse 12: “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”.

In these quiet and slow days between Christmas and New Years, we can either drift along or we can be anxious about the year to come. In both cases it can be a time when we lose sight of the birth of Jesus that we just celebrated. Today’s passage is a good connection back to the birth story.

Coming into the world as a helpless infant leaves one very vulnerable and dependent on others. When Jesus Christ entered the world, Mary took Him into her arms and wrapped Him securely in swaddling clothes. This replicates the feeling and safety of the womb, bringing comfort to the baby. Mary provided all the Jesus needed to survive and then to thrive. We find a parallel to this in today’s reading.

In Colossians, Paul encourages us to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”. We are to wrap ourselves in these qualities so that we can best survive and thrive in the world. To help us understand what it looks like to live out these five qualities we need look no further than Jesus. Every day He modeled these qualities. It was how God designed us to live. When we follow Jesus and emulate the model He set, then we are living as God desires.

Paul then goes on to encourage us to “bear with one another” and to “forgive as the Lord forgave you”. These two practices acknowledge our imperfections and limitations. We are what we are – the imperfect striving after the perfect. So Paul encourages us to show one another grace and mercy. Our passage ends with Paul’s directive to “put on love” as the thing that covers all of these other qualities and in fact “binds them all together”. Like the swaddling clothes of baby Jesus, when we allow love to be our primary quality, when we allow love to cover all we say and do, then we find comfort, assurance, courage, and strength to live as His witness in the world.

As we go forth into the day ahead, may we be compassionate and kind, gentle and humble, patient and forgiving. And over and before all of these, may we love just as Jesus Christ first loved us. In doing so, we share Jesus with the world.

Prayer: God, in love may I be all these things to those I meet today, bearing witness to your Son, my hope and the hope of the world. Amen.


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Surrounded by Love

Wrapping the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes was the common practice of the time.  It is still the common practice in many places.  By wrapping the baby head to toe, it is kept warm and its delicate skin in protected.  Being laid in a manger, maybe Jesus even needed a little extra protection.  All one could see of the baby was their little face, gazing up at them.

In the culture of Jesus’ day and in many places still today, at the end of life the body is again wrapped in a cloth.  This time it is called a shroud and it covers all of the body.  The body is wrapped with fragrant spices and laid to rest in a protetcive little coccoon.  The cycle is complete.

Tonight the communion will be covered by a cloth except when being served.  The elements are representative of Jesus’ body and blood, so it is appropriate and respectful to cover them.

In our Christian walk, God’s love continually surrounds us much like the swaddling clothes do a baby.  God wraps His love and protection around us as He walks through the ups, downs, and middles of life with us.  As we walk we will stumble and we will sin.  But God is present then too for His love never fails.  In these moments we also receive His love and grace as well.  They surround us too and make us new and clean and whole.  Through Jesus’ work on the cross, we are forgiven and restored to walk again in God’s loving presence.  Thank you Jesus.

Scripture reference: Luke 2: 1-20