SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:12-17
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We are in strange times with this pandemic. Social distancing, for many, is counter to our nature. Many are struggling in isolation and for lacking in-person interactions with others. Encouragement is needed and often helpful for many in times like these. For the church in Colossae, there is some debate as to the intent of the letter in this passage. Now while there are those who believe that the purpose of this letter was against a growing heresy in the church and opposes false teachers who had been spreading error in the congregation, others argue that the letter is primarily one of encouragement and edification for a developing church.
While I can understand the argument for both sides, at least with this section of the text, I find the argument for encouragement much more compelling. Now that could be because I, like many others, feel the need for more encouragement in this time of the pandemic. But I guess when I read this passage, I imagine the voice as one of love and patience, not one of anger or judgment. Reading this passage makes me smile and lifts my spirits during these challenging days.
There are countless passages of Scripture that give people encouragement and some more obvious than others. Some passages meanings may change for us individually over time based on what is going on in our lives at any given time. What passages give you encouragement? And are there any passages that you find encouragement in now that you did not before? Any that used to give you encouragement that no longer seem to have as much of an impact on you now?
God of all compassion, kindness, patience, and love we thank you for the places we find encouragement in our lives. From Scripture to words from our loved ones to the unexpected places, encouragement helps us to get through some of the most difficult times in our lives. We pray for continued encouragement as we traverse this time of the pandemic, but also pray for encouragement when this time is over, and we work to return to a sense of normalcy in our world. Amen.