Daily Devotional – April 28, 2020

To the Church in Exile,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s meditation is from Jane Gunningham.

The peace of Christ be with you. Our daily lectionary reading is Colossians 1:1-14:

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6that 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. 7This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9For 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, 10so 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. 11May 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 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The other day, while I was out grocery shopping, I passed an employee in one of the aisles, masked and gloved, wiping down a shelf. Under her smock her T-shirt read: “Yet she persisted.” The visual stuck with me.

We are pretty sure Paul is writing to the Colossians from prison, during his first incarceration in Rome. In the middle of his own discomfort, he is rejoicing in the persistence of the Colossians and praying for them to have strength, persist in their salvation and in hope, because they know they are called to glory and life. Paul is pretty well placed to understand that bearing fruit and growing in knowledge are not circumstance dependent; his prayers have an authority to them that comes from knowing firsthand the strengthening power of Jesus who has rescued us. Paul is able to rejoice in seeing others persist and bear fruit as he recognizes Jesus’ transforming power at work.

When I was in Burkina Faso, I visited a beautiful spot where water had carved out channels in granite; this is a highly seasonal flow, yet the persistence of water over time has completely transformed the landscape, and provides an oasis in an otherwise arid zone.
Dear Jesus; help us, like Paul, to persist in growing, in knowing you better, and in serving the Kingdom through the strength you pour into us. We are tired, weary to the bone. Yet you kindly remind us of the glorious changes that come to the world as the Holy Spirit persists in its holy work, in this unholy world. Thank you.

Peace in Christ,
Jane Gunningham

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