Over the last couple of Sundays we’ve been speaking about the ways we’re called as a church to be a living expression of the “new humanity” founded in Jesus right here in Auckland. Unlike many political slogans, this audacious vision is not just wishful thinking. It’s based on the hope of the resurrected Jesus, the author and king of all things, who brings the new creation.

So, it’s fitting that we spend the next month or so in Paul’s letter to the fledgling church in Colossae. Paul writes under pressure (he’s in prison for preaching the Gospel) to a group who are under pressure (they’re finding it hard to live out their new faith in a world that’s wired in a completely different way). What Paul delivers is nuclear. Whereas the Colossians are trying to add Jesus to their existing lives, like a new patch on an old pair of jeans, Paul says Jesus is a whole new wardrobe for a brand new body.

In this short but amazing letter, Paul describes this radical new way of being. In the Colossian church watertight social boundaries were beginning to break down, which was causing stress among them. For instance, Paul refers to a slave (Onesimus) who’d run away from his owner (Philemon). Although it was Philemon’s right to demand the slave’s death, Paul asks him and the community to welcome Onesimus back into the church as an equal brother. Paul’s point is that the new creation which arrived in Jesus is a shockwave that has changed everything, and the church is the place where these new sorts of relationships take shape.

Over these next few weeks I encourage you to make this letter your daily meditation, to read it slowly and repeatedly, to connect it up with the challenges and opportunities of your own life and relationships. To get us started, Paul prays the “messiah poem” in Col. 1:15-20, which is the lens through which every part of our lives makes sense.

“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organises and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” (The Message)

Rev Jonny Grant