Week of: December 30, 2018
Scripture: Colossians 3:12-17
The peace of Christ must control your hearts. ... The word of Christ must live in you richly.
(Colossians 3:15-16, CEB)
On the first Sunday of the twelve days of Christmas, the lectionary provides a segment from one of Paul's letters. This provides a fitting conclusion to our devotions this month, which from the beginning of Advent have centered on several ancient hymns and poetic writing in the scriptures.
The letter to the congregation at Colossae, opening with thanksgiving and prayer, also includes a hymn calling to mind the nature and mission of Jesus — a mission ultimately about reconciliation and peace.
In the letter, Paul urges the church to "sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" with heartfelt gratitude, as tools for transformative teaching. Paul understood that gaining deeper understanding of the pathway of Christ would lead to a more effective living practice of Christ-like discipleship.
Exploring, singing, and reflecting on hymns and songs as scripture is a significant aspect of the work of the people — the liturgy. That work allows room for the peace of Christ to control our hearts and for the word of Christ to live in us richly. May it be so.
God of melody and metaphor, stir our hearts and minds to deeper exploration and understanding of the sacred songs we sing, so that we become your instruments of reconciliation and peace.
Deacon, The United Methodist Church