So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
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. Colossians 3:1-15 (NRSV)
My wife, Elizabeth and I could not be more different. We met 50 years ago, and have been married 47½ of those years. Besides the obvious differences, gender thing and all, we come from decidedly different backgrounds. Concerning the socio-economic picture, we were raised on different sides of the tracks. Her family’s cultural connection was much closer to Old World European ways; mine more Brooklyn, New York. She likes vanilla, I’m a chocolate addict. I would live on top of a mountain – give Elizabeth the beach. She has an eye for interior decorating, order and beauty; I’m lucky to find my toothbrush in the same drawer twice in a month, and couldn’t tell you the difference between sea green and lavender. Elizabeth loves to shop; I’m a cheapskate and a confirmed, card-carrying store hater. I like technology; it drives her crazy!
Personality-wise, I’m an introvert, bordering on reclusive; Elizabeth is more extroverted, having never met a stranger. I tend to be complacent, so much so, Elizabeth checks my pulse several times daily to see if I’ve slipped into a coma; she, on the other hand is vibrant and engages her interests passionately. She was raised in a family that had very little connection with church; I lived there. (Sometimes my family went to church so often I seriously considered changing my mailing address to “under the steeple”.)
Why the soul-baring today?
Well, it’s 5am and how else am I going to avoid the gaping holes in my willingness to accept what Paul wrote to the Colossian church? I figure if I dance-around this issue of accepting all the differences we have in this human family dwelling on planet Earth, I may be able to gloss-over some of the sticky parts. You know what I’m talking about – like how, as a person whose life is “hidden in Christ with God,” I’m supposed to not only tolerate and accept, but embrace others who are so different from me.
It’s more than just “making room at the table,” it’s getting up, pulling up another chair and inviting that different soul to sit next to you. Paul said we’re a “holy mixture” and our job is to clothe this body of Christ with love that produces harmony.
Whew…no wonder I’m dreading investigating this!
All this week we’re going to talk about these differences; I hope you’ll stay tuned. (I hate walking a tough road alone.
You’re different than me. I’m committed to getting over that. Join me?