Monday, July 06, 2009

Swags and Jams

Steve Robbins has a way with words. He spoke this weekend at Vineyard Church of Columbus. The printed title of his message was "How Do We Grow-Up Together?," although I don't recall hearing him refer to that title. Instead, this product of the Jesus Movement referred to getting new swags and jams from the influence of our older brother Jesus.

Robbins message challenged me in speaking of the layers of clothing (swags) referred to in Colossians 3:12-17. The layers are:
  • Compassion - deep, gut-wrenching feeling which moves us beyond knowledge to action
  • Kindness - the original Greek word used describes the mellowing of wine which has lost its harshness, in other words it is "grace in action"
  • Humility - absence of self-exaltation
  • Gentleness - quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one's self importance; strength under control
  • Patience - putting distance between you and your wrath; long-fussed
He then addressed the question of "How do we put these swags on?" by first emphasizing that none of these virtues can be worked outside of community. He also pointed to the progression (rather than the simple do's and dont's) of verses 13 and 14.
  • Bear with each other
  • Forgive one another - the original Greek indicates "grace," forgive when it's not deserved
  • Cover it all with love - without love the virtues are just duty
I used to think I lacked compassion. This message seemed to reveal to me that I have a great deal of compassion but I'm lacking in the other layers. My compassion (what I've seen as an untamed passionate personality) generally shows up with harshness and a desire to be seen making a difference.

I now see the significance of all the layers being present and "accessorized" by the belt of love. One or two layers without the others is just not hip.

How are your layers? Anything exposed inappropriately?

The sermon should be posted online later this week.

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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