Saturday 3rd October 2020 Colossians – The Apostolic Spirit and Final Greetings
Colossians 4:2 – 18
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow-servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.
Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him. And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, ‘See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.’
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Two friends had to get to the island airport. They didn’t have any transport and so set off on foot hoping to hitch a lift. But there weren’t any vehicles on the road. They knelt down and screwed up their eyes in earnest prayer. When they opened their eyes, they saw the back of a bus disappearing into the distance; the moral of the story is watch and pray!
As I write this over the last few weeks we have been encouraged to keep alert because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Keeping alert has been associated with illness, danger and even fear. Here Paul is associating it with thanksgiving. He rejoices despite his circumstances – he is in prison with no prospect of being released. Hopefully as you read this we will be experiencing greater freedoms. But Paul encourages us to be thankful in all circumstances. He is able to count his blessings and recognises that God is at work. He is thankful for his friends, companions and fellow ministers. He doesn’t see his imprisonment as an impediment to the spread of the Gospel. God’s love cannot be constrained by a cell or chains. But he also recognises that it is not just about him, he affirms his fellow workers for the sake of the Gospel. And above all else he recognises the power of prayer.
Whatever our circumstances might be, may we not forget the power of prayer, but let us keep our eyes open to see what God is doing and rejoice. Let us give thanks for the way that the Gospel has spread in word and deed despite lockdown and let us rejoice for our brothers and sisters who minister with us in places and ways we can’t.
We rejoice in your goodness and blessings.
Lift up our eyes beyond all that seems to imprison and constrain us.
Let your Gospel, your Good News reach beyond us to those who need to hear it today. Amen