Colossians (The Kingdom)

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Colossians 4:7-end

Continuing the theme from today's gospel from Luke and the Kingdom of God

The reading which we heard a few minutes ago from Paul’s letter to the Colossians carry’s forward the theme of the Gospel reading for today from Luke’s Gospel.   This morning we thought about the Kingdom of God and the part each one of us plays in bringing it about in the way we live and have our being.

Jesus’ message is that God’s Kingdom is within us – and it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which manifests the Kingdom in our every day lives.    Jesus said “those who love love me will keep my word – and my Father will love them – and we will come to them and make our home with them”.  We will abide in him and he in us.

Now that’s all fine and dandy – but there is a sting in the tail – if we really and truly live the kingdom we are – each one of us – members of a mission team – and in the last chapter of his letter – Paul gives us an insight into what his mission team was like.    We could so easily read past this as a list of names – but each is a person with a unique story – each one reflects some aspect of the Gospel as these individual stories become chapters in the one story of God’s mission. So let’s have a look at some of them – because I think we may find a little of each of us in them!

Tychicus proved a man of intense devotion to Paul, commissioned by the Apostle to carry to their destination the letters to Colossians and Philemon, and probably the letter to the Ephesians.  Unlike Luke, he is not remembered for being a doctor – for writing a Gospel or recording the history of the church - like Luke who we remember today – no – he remembered as a postman – Paul calls him a beloved brother, faithful minister and fellow servant – making the point that there is greatness in the smallest gospel work – God is in our little deeds – the Gospel bring significance to all our work as part of God’s mission.

Well what about Onesimus?   He was a slave – and according to Paul’s letter to Philemon – and an unbeliever – having stolen from Philemon he fled and somehow found himself in Rome where he met Paul – who introduced him to Jesus.  Paul sent him back to Philemon commending him as a faithful and beloved brother.  Though he may still be a slave – a transformation has taken place – he is not returning reluctantly by joyfully – ready to serve – ready to bring the love of Christ into his role as a slave.

Paul in his letter goes on to introduce his support team.  Firstly there is ARTISTARICHUS – we don’t know much about this man – but what is written tells us much about the mission of God – in truth the mission of God is hard and painful  - the spreading of the Gospel and the Kingdom can sometimes be difficult and dangerous.

Paul mentions Mark – who abandoned Paul during his ministry in Pamphylia – there was clearly a disagreement between them – but we now have Paul speaking about Mark as a comfort to him – the gospel brings reconciliation in our relationship for mission.

Peter Hewlett-Smith, Heckfield, 18 October 2015