top of page

Epistle: Colossians 2:6-19

6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.   8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

16Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Paul warns his congregation in Colossae about “the empty lure” of philosophies and traditions that compromise faith. Through the gift of faith, the church is mystically connected with Christ in his death and resurrection, which is enacted in baptism.


Several years ago, we were in New York for vacation, visiting the camp (Koinonia) Lisa and I worked at before we headed to seminary. One night while we were there in the foothills of the Catskills, we went to a local summer stock theater to see the wonderful musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The musical begins with Tevya, the local milkman, who welcomes us to his town. Tevya says “A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy. But here in our little village, you might say that every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it is so dangerous. We stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word. TRADITION!”

Tradition. We have them. We follow them. You don’t think so?

Ever been to an Ohio State football game? When to stand, when to sit, when to say “I-O” is all a part of tradition. A baseball game and the seventh inning stretch – it’s a part of tradition.

We have traditions around holidays. Christmas wouldn’t be the same in the Woodward household if there wasn’t sausage souffle for breakfast.

In Jesus day, there were traditions. Many of the traditions based on the law. From the 10 commandments, the leaders of the law expanded that to 613! 613 laws!

Jesus turned things upside down. But Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

Jesus comes to us to bring us back into a right relationship with God, to remind us and re-center us on God. A right relationship with God is not simply about keeping the law.

That is where we run into trouble. We focus on self and what we need to do to be right with God, as if we are in charge.

Our relationship with God is not an IF- THEN relationship – IF you follow the law, THEN God will love you.

Instead, our relationship with God is a BECAUSE – THEREFORE relationship. BECAUSE God loves you, THEREFORE we respond by loving and worshipping God and loving and serving others.

That is what we are called to do. There is no tradition that can save us.

And if we DO fall off that roof, God, who is gracious and merciful will pick us up, dust us off, and let us try again.

Let us pray: Help us, Lord, to trust in you alone. May all that we do be in response to what you have first done for us in Jesus Christ. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page