Verse: Colossians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Introductions to the Biblical letters always interest me for some reason. I know they are just cultural greetings. The equivalent of us starting an email saying, "Good morning Jake, hope you are well!" (That would be Jake, from State Farm, of course.)
Maybe it's the fact that they are so mundane, that I find the details embedded in them so interesting. For instance, I love the little phrase Paul drops here: "faithful brothers and sisters in Christ." I know that he's not making some grand theological point. And that's the point. He's not arguing for something here, this is just his reality that he takes for granted. Namely, he is part of a family.
He doesn't see "the church" as an institution or a building or as representing political issues. He sees the church as a family of faith. We who share faith in Jesus, who live in and by the Way of Jesus and his teachings, are related by faith. We are brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, to each other. In the Ancient Near Eastern Jewish culture of the day, this concept would have been profound. If someone in your family of faith was hurting, you helped them. If they were down on their luck, you provided for them. If they were sick, you cared for them. If they were hungry, you fed them.
As time has passed and the nuclear family has become so popular, I fear that we've lost the radical welcome of the family of faith. Do we really treat each other as family? Or do we just call each other "brother and sister in Christ" with not much in action or heart to back that up? It's challenging for me. I feel that these past couple years God has been challenging my "heart of hospitality." How do I keep healthy boundaries for my family and myself (which are important) but not use them as an excuse to not have a radical welcome and care for other believers in my life? Am I loving my brothers and sisters (or neighbors for that matter) if my door and my table remain closed?
These are questions I wrestle with and I don't have answers for, but I thought I'd let you wrestle with them this morning too. You're welcome!
Make us more like you, Jesus, in how we treat our family of faith.