August 4, 2013: Set Your Mind on Things Above

New Testament Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

The overall theme for the book of Colossians that I’ve tried to focus on over the past few weeks is that of fruit bearing. The book of Colossians is such an encouragement. Unlike many of his other epistles, Paul is well pleased with this congregation and his letter to them is an encouragement to yield fruit. I’ve put my imagination to work and have been trying to foster a lush, colorful vocabulary to accompany the texts.

The Call to Worship for this Sunday is Morning Has Broken. The language of fresh grass, re-creation, dew, and singing birds exemplify the lushness I think is present in the book of Colossians.

As we move into the readings, I am struck by the repeated phrase to set our minds on things above. We are led to envision the enthroned Christ who has ascended and gone before us to prepare a place for us. The passage is pointing us to the reality that we are in Christ. We will consider this meaning throughout the morning. The language available in Christ the Lord Is Risen Today is a good illustration of these truths. “Soar we now where Christ has led/foll’wing our exalted head… We then move on to the praise Glory to the Lord Our God. The chorus, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, let the king of glory come in…” is alludes to the ascension of Christ and serves as a devotional response to the truth of his seat in heaven.

After the sermon and Eucharist, we’ll close with the song, “Everything Cries Holy.” This is a final image to leave with in our heads. Once again, it helps us to envision the enthroned Christ with biblical and prophetic language.

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