Sunday, July 18, 2010

Things Above and Things of Earth

The morning's text at Sunday worship today was Colossians 3:1-4, "If then 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 appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

This is the central theme of Colossians - Christ, the center of all things. Pastor Nate spoke of seeking and setting as found in this passage -active, focused words depicting 'movement towards' and 'founding on' a whole new life. When we seek those things that are above, we must set our minds upon them and if we don't, we fall back into anxiousness and worry, supposing ourselves to be our own savior. Thus, we find life to be a series of pendulum swings between pride and despair.

So what are those heavenly things that we're supposed to seek? And how do we find them? Those things are where Christ is, and we find them by looking to him and not to ourselves. Our salvation is assured by the strength of the position of the One who saved me.

Pastor Nate concluded his message with two statements that really caused me to think back over the last 20 months or so: "As we look at those heavenly things, all of the rest of our life falls into line, into it's own priority beneath Christ." And "We will seek the risk of the Kingdom if we know that we are rooted in, founded upon, set in Christ."

Even though I have loved Christ as my savior from an early age, I have had a great propensity to try to be my own savior. It's that classic old original sin, thinking that I actually knew better than God. It got Adam and all of mankind into a lot of trouble and it's been no different for me! Coming to the end of my rope got my attention, and the knowledge in my head of the sufficiency and efficacy of Christ finally moved into my heart. Seeking and setting were key.

So how do you seek Christ and set your mind on him when the tempest of life is howling around you? God's word, first and foremost, is solid and sure. But, when your mind is raging it can be kind of difficult to read the Bible, if not downright impossible sometimes. That's where seeking and setting came into play, and for me that meant going, week after week, to Sunday worship. Even in the midst of confusion or pain, darkness or despair, there I could say the Word in the Call to Worship, the Corporate Confession, and the Profession of Faith as found in the Apostle's Creed. I could pray the Word in the Lord's Prayer itself. I could sing the word in various songs and hymns, the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, and even in the singing of the Benediction. I could hear the Word in the Old and New Testament readings, the Scriptural Text, the Assurance of Pardon. And finally, I could taste the Word in the Eucharist. Week after week, the work of the Word did its steady and sure work upon my heart and brought me to firmer ground.

I know that my life isn't fixed. It can't be until I step into eternity, but in the meantime when life begins its inevitable ups and downs, I know that the sure and certain Word will be my refuge and my rock.