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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, July 13, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Colossians 1:1–14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NRSV)

Whenever I read a passage from one of the New Testament epistles like this one, I find myself identifying with the author. Perhaps it’s because of my English major, or perhaps it’s because I’ve written my fair share of church correspondence in eighteen years of ordained ministry, but whatever the reason I realize it has a profound effect on what I hear in scripture.

What if we tried to change our perspective, tried to hear ourselves addressed where we are accustomed to being the speaker, or tried to identify with the author instead of the audience? When I do that with this passage from Colossians the effect feels dramatic. I often search these texts for lessons in pastoral leadership and theological insight and clues about the life of the early church. Yet when I allow myself to be addressed as a “saint,” my ears are opened to affirmations about faith and love and hope that I need to hear more than I’d known.

I hear this: “The gospel is bearing fruit among you just as it always has been.” 

And this: “I’m praying for you.” 

And also this: “Thank God for you.” 

I hope you hear those things too and that your spirit may be buoyed by them, beloved.

Hear our prayer today, merciful God, both for the ones for whom we thank you and the ones who thank you for us. Unite us in gratitude for one another and for you as you continue to nurture the fruit of faith, hope, and love in our common life. Through Christ. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry and Worship

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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