Hey everyone! A couple quick notes:
- Sorry about not posting last week, but what can I say? It was a holiday weekend in summer.
- Thanks to my Facebook peeps for the great Colossians suggestions. I tried going in the direction of a couple of them, but my design skills just couldn't do justice to the passages so I ended up going another direction. Sorry.
- Speaking of my Facebook page, a few weeks back I gave away a couple prints when I hit 300 "likes." At that time I mentioned that I'd give another couple prints away when the page hits 350. Right now it's at 328, so tell your friends, enemies and casual acquaintances and hopefully I'll be giving more prints away soon!
Chain Gang for Jesus
Colossians has a lot of cool stuff in it. Paul affirms the ultimate authority of Jesus, gives encouragement, direction on basic "how-you-should-live-and-act" stuff and even finds time to drop some doctrine. (Pretty impressive the amount of stuff he can communicate in a letter, huh?) But there was one phrase in last verse of the book that really caught my attention. "Remember my chains."
Go directly to jail. Do not pass Rome. Do not collect 200 drachmas.
When I think of the most influential Christian voices these days (and I'm just speaking about the U.S. since that's where I live), none of them are in prison because they follow Jesus. Some of them may have been in jail before, but it was likely back in their heathen days when they drank and partied too much (before God rescued them) and now it's just a good sermon illustration. Paul was the leader of the 1st century church and he was frequently in prison. Not just for a couple days, but for long periods of time. Yet he was a leader from prison. Still writing, encouraging and correcting churches he'd helped to plant. And he didn't even have an iPhone.
If the head honcho of your group is in prison, you might be a 1st century Christian.
In the little research I did on this passage, it seemed like most folks thought that Paul writes "Remember my Chains" as a prayer request. I kinda wonder if it also served as a reminder to the Colossians. Like "Hey Colossians, just so you know, this 'following Jesus' thing may not be easy. In fact, look at me. I'm one of the head honchos and I'm currently in chains writing to you from a prison."
Jim, shall we schedule a time for you to be imprisoned so your faith can grow?
Heck no! Do you think I'm crazy! You can't get Candyland popcorn in prison! I guess Paul's words just make me realize how easy I have it... and I'm not so sure that easy is good. In the first century, the early church had to overcome obstacles every day in order to follow Jesus. Just publicly professing their faith could be dangerous. The culture I live in makes it easy for me to say I have faith in Jesus. I think that's a big reason why it can feel difficult to actually follow him.