Friday, Jan 1st

By: Brittany Fiscus

Colossians 3. 12-17

Reflection—v. 17, ‘do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus’

Every New Year, I think about ways to be a better Christian. This passage offers great direction for what I might do. But this is not just a lesson for the New Year, a resolution to be forgotten as life settles back into normalcy. No, the author is asking for something bigger than a brief commitment. This is about making sure that our entire being is centered on God. It is a reminder that we have been given a new way of life that shapes our very being, disturbs our comfortable routine, and touches our hearts with a depth that no Christmas commercial ever could. Moreover, we are not to forget that this letter was written to a community, not a single recipient. Our personal goals for the New Year are good, but we must remember what God asks of us as a beloved community—that we are to be centered on God and do everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, something we can hope to accomplish with the love and support of one another. As we watch Christmas decorations removed and advertisements change, let us remember that our new way of life in Christ is year-round and life-long.

Prayer  God, whose love is beyond time, remind us every single day is an opportunity to honor you in every single thing that we do.

Thursday, Dec 31st

By: Brittany Fiscus

Colossians 3. 12-17

Reflection—v. 16, ‘teach and admonish one another’

These days at Mercy, we hear a lot about how we are a ‘teaching congregation.’  What this means on a basic level is that we are a congregation with interns who are learning to be ministers, we offer classes like music and yoga, we invite youth groups to participate and fellowship with us, and we have Bible studies where everyone has a chance to share wisdom and insight.  But at Mercy, being a teaching congregation goes far beyond the concrete opportunities offered.  We embody the concept of being a congregation that teaches and learns from one another in a mutual exchange.  The author of Colossians says that’s a great thing: teaching and learning is a part of bearing, forgiving, and loving one another.  We must let the word of Christ dwell in our hearts, but knowledge of Christ is not ours to keep. We must share and teach it to one another.  Each of us is a teacher charged with sharing all of our wisdom.  When teaching is done with patience, love, mutuality, and respect for one another, those are the times when Mercy is truly a teaching community at its best.

Prayer  Rabbi, may we follow you as teachers, sharing the joy and riches of our hearts that we learned from you first.

Wednesday, Dec 30th

By: Brittany Fiscus

Colossians 3. 12-17

Reflection—v. 14, ‘Love’

I do not know that I have ever experienced ‘perfect harmony’ at Mercy, but I have experienced what it feels like to be loved.  Maybe for the first time in my life, I feel like I am a part of a community where no matter what I do, I will still be loved.  When we tell each other ‘hey, I love you,’ it is not the superficial I-love-you-because-of-all-good-qualities-you-have love.  Instead, I have experienced something more akin to relationships-are-complicated-and-neither-of-us-is-perfect-but-that-doesn’t-change-the-fact-that-I-love-you love.  Love, despite our faults.  Love, despite our complications. Love, despite the fact that it is hard to be in community with other people.  But that is what love is; it is what we are clothed in even after all the ‘despites.’  We still love each other, and that is exactly what binds us together in perfect harmony.  Not perfect in the sense that we do not have faults, but perfect in the sense that it is right and good.  Our love is what binds our community together in God’s perfect harmony.

Prayer  God, fill us with the kind of love that only you can offer, and help us to see in each other and love in each other what you see and love in each of us.

Tuesday, Dec 29th

By: Brittany Fiscus

Colossians 3. 12-17

Reflection—v. 13, ‘bear with one another’

Bearing with someone can sound a little burdensome, something that you do only because you have to, but I believe the author of Colossians is pointing to something richer than merely tolerating each other.  The phrase used for ‘bear with one another’ is used one other time in the New Testament, in Ephesians, when the community there was also encouraged to ‘bear with one another in love.’  When we ‘bear with one another in love’ we are present with them, we become their community, we share in their burdens, and ‘bear’ whatever that means.  We do not just tolerate them; we love them and stand with them.  The author gives us even more details on what we must do, saying that we must forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against another.  That’s part of bearing with each other: we have to forgive each other and choose to be in community anyway.  If we are to be a beloved community, we must learn to bear with one another in love, and we must learn to forgive one another.

Prayer  God, help us to bear with one another, and forgive one another, with all the unending love and patience that you have for us, your beloved children.

Monday, Dec 28th

By: Brittany Fiscus

Colossians 3. 12-17

Reflection—v. 12, ‘clothe yourselves’

We are told that we must clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience: the lived-out traits that become a reflection of new life. We are not told to feel these things, but to wear them, to put them on, to embody them. The image of putting on compassion or kindness, just as you would a jacket or scarf, is powerful. Clothes protect us, they keep us warm, they shield us from the wind and rain.  It’s difficult for many of us to remember how important clothing is, when our culture tells us fashions are something worn for a short season then discarded. When one owns six jackets in six different colors, it’s easy to forget how valuable a single warm jacket can be in keeping you warm enough to stay alive on a cold night. Clothing ourselves in this way, not as an accessory, but as a necessity, makes the idea of clothing ourselves in compassion, patience, and humility, a little different. Just as I would clothe myself in layers of warmth against the winter wind, I will clothe myself in layers of humility, patience, gentleness, because these prepare me for my resurrected life in Christ.

Prayer  God, clothe us, that we may live out the new life you gave us every day.