A devotion by Pastor Wes Poole
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. NRSV
The above passage is one that I particularly like to read at weddings. The author of Colossians, who quite likely wasn’t St. Paul himself, but rather a later student or devotee of his work, probably wasn’t thinking about marriage in particular, but his words are a great reminder of the need for the People of God to model kindness and forbearance with each other. Last week, as many of you know now, was a tough one for me. I lost a dear friend and I am still processing that grief. A kind word of concern and caring by someone on Sunday at worship really changed the tone of this entire week for me. You often hear it said that kindness should always be our default setting, if you will, as we never really know what someone else is going through. In the same vein as the mutual bearing of each others’ burdens, which was the theme of last week’s devotion, the Apostle here carries it a bit further with some specific advice. It is so easy for us to let anger or stress or anxiety color our dealings with one another. The Apostle reminds us that Jesus has indeed shown us a better way. “Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”…that’s good advice for us at any time, in the church or out of it! We will always sin and fall short of the life God means for us, but God is also by our side, and not just in some sort of nebulous, spiritual sense. Perhaps the most powerful and compelling way God comes to us is through each other. Kindness, patience, and forgiveness were the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry and the model for his people everywhere. Again, I thank God and all of you for letting me be a part of such a caring family. Please know that even though we still have to maintain a degree of distance, you are in my prayers every day. Our unity is always rooted in Christ. I look forward to the day we can resume our normal mode of interaction. It will happen eventually. God will provide a way through this. Of that I have no doubt. Meanwhile, the relationships we build with one another are precious. Let’s cherish them and always strive to build each other up.
Let us pray…
God of lovingkindness, you sent your Son, Jesus to be our Savior and greatest teacher. Help us to make his example our own and to continue to show the same love and regard for our brothers and sisters everywhere that he showed in his earthly ministry. We are strongest when we live in harmony and community. Inspire us to keep our community healthy, safe, and loving. For we ask these things in Jesus’ name and for his sake. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe!
Pastor Wes †