William Loader
First Thoughts on Year C Epistle Passages from the Lectionary (abbreviated)

Colossians 3:5 turns to the logical consequences of beginning this new life: the old must die. … there is still the need to give attention to well grooved habits and behaviours which conflict with the new life. … It also headed the list of the ethical commandments in the Greek version of the ten commandments.

… Colossians 3:6-7 Respect and love towards others has to be fundamental to the Christian life because it is fundamental to God’s being from the beginning. Straight and honest open communication (3:9) is also a way of showing regard for others. People need reminding about these things, because many things block what can otherwise be a dynamic process of change. There are still deep grooves and powerful systems of thought to which people can be captive, even without knowing it. Spiritual growth means allowing oneself to become more and more transformed and conformed to the one who is now the focus of our loyalty and love.

… A few weeks ago we found the same images in Galatians 3:26-28. It speaks of shedding on old garment and putting on a new one. … So the vision is not about some religious experience which takes us away from our humanity, but about our humanity becoming full alive because it has now found its way back to what it was meant to be in the first place.

… As in Galatians, so here we read of unity of diverse people. There the list included male and female. Here those elements are missing. Instead the focus is on different nationalities and cultures, but also still on slaves and free. Perhaps people were finding the notion of male and female in Christ too controversial to handle …

… To say that “Christ is all and in all” is cryptic. We might say he is all that matters. It is also saying that he dwells in all. The preceding image said all dwell in him. These are only images, but they emphasise intimate belonging. Christian faith is not about a religious adventure on the side of daily life, but about a total orientation of one’s being in which, through Christ, God is back being God for us, and we are back to being human in the way we were made to be. The reference to “all” may also have a much wider focus: all people and all of creation. That is at least the goal of this love which flows from the heart of God and that needs to be the goal of that love in and through our lives as well, so that no one is beyond it and no part of creation beyond our care and concern.

Rev Vladimir Korotkov