Rev. Leigh Spruill delivered the last of his 3-part sermon series on Colossians yesterday. He’s been on sabbatical for 14 weeks and had refocused on St. George’s vision and purpose. Yesterday’s Scripture reading was from Chapter 3: 1-11 with verse 11: “In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!”
Leigh challenged that as a congregation we are steeped in Scripture with three readings in each Sunday service and numerous Bible Studies throughout the week. We are a Scripture-based church. Because we are Christians, we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. It is an important point as we are commanded to put to death our earthly desires and sins and “seek the things that are above.” The emphasis in these verses is that Paul doesn’t place his hope in humanity; Christ alone has reconciled all things already and we now have Christ directly in our hearts.
If we really believe what Paul says (and we do), our “new life” should be evidenced in the quality of our life together. Just like the early church, we don’t have to wait until we are perfect nor be trained to go into the community and love our neighbor. Leigh shared with us that during the original visioning for the strategic plan in 2007, he saw a chalice that was overflowing with wine symbolizing the love of Christ spilling out into the Nashville community and even further, to the ends of the earth.
It should be clear that it is not out of duty or obligation that we should do this, but instead because of our “new life” with Christ. We don’t have to wait for committees to be formed or votes to be taken; we are commanded to love one another and we can go forth and do that now in our families, in our church, in our community, and throughout the world.
I was comforted in knowing that Christ has relieved me of the burden of my sins and that I am being “renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator”. Verse 11 clearly indicates that this renewal is “in all” so that everyone regardless of race, creed, color or other division can also receive the new life of Christ. When our city, other churches, and people throughout the world cry out for compassion, we are called to share our gifts and our “new life.”
I am energized that through Christ, God is “all and in all”. When God asks me to go love my neighbor, I don’t have to ask for permission.
(click below for MP3 file)