A weekly study in Colossians has me walking over familiar ground with new eyes. This time through, rather than trying to explicate each word or phrase, I’m pulling back, for a bigger picture.
In last week’s portion–1:15-20–we keyed in on the idea of origins, and what it means to be from and connected to a particular family. Read like that, Paul’s poem/hymn really sings. Its emphasis on Jesus’ activity as creator and sustainer means, for instance, that one’s particular lineage need not have the final say. Rather, connection with God puts one in touch with God’s original intent and commitment to restoration so that the Creator’s early design can once more be seen, enjoyed, appreciated.
Read like that, I walk out of this text with new appreciation for roots and wings. The words and phrases of this hymn invite unpacking and reward close study, but sometimes examining trees misses the wonder of the forest. So, pulling back, I hear Paul extolling the God who includes, welcomes, grounds. Once again I am encountering the One who is full of grace and quick to affirm.
Jerry Hawthorne, a friend and mentor, wrote a commentary on Colossians that I’m using in this study. One of his observations about Paul’s message in this book–in fact, one of the themes Jerry loved to trumpet–is conveyed on the commentary’s dedication page. There, after mentioning family and friends, he starts the book with a clarion call: “Remember: God is for you!” Indeed.
The image above is part of a larger collection in the devotional art journal, Awake My Soul. More info on that here.