Embracing Each Moment: Everyday Grace in the Fullness of God

Colossians 4:2-18

Fullness in Creation, Mystery, and Community 
Paul is concluding this relatively short, packed letter to the believers in Colossae, written from prison in Ephesus. It’s full of practical guidance for everyday life. Practical in the sense that Paul knows is necessary. Their roots are all alien to Paul’s message. If they’re to give their lives to this, they need to see how it makes sense of the world, their story, their relationships. Not in abstract arguments or instructions but in one person, Jesus.

Embracing the Mystery of Christ: Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Colossians 1:24-2:7

What is all of this about “Mystery”? 
Paul writes to Believers he’s never met, encouraging them to the fullness of life in Jesus. In a hymn Paul expressed its vast scope: First, all of physical/spiritual creation is embraced in Jesus as creator and incarnation. Then all of human experience, as he dies and, in God’s Fullness, brings new creation out of death to reconcile the universe to God in Jesus. 
This is a surprising, challenging event/narrative. Something pointed to but never fully seen before it became reality in Jesus, his life, teaching, crucifixion, resurrection, and meaning. It is “hidden” for ages as God’s Mystery (M, mysterion), his unique, unexpected way of embracing his creation. God’s kingdom should be glorious, overwhelming, not lowly, hidden, dying. But ironically that obscure, crucified Jesus brings God’s powerful, reconciling love to his whole world, both Jews and all nations, creating a new reality. 

Embraced in the Heart of the World: "In Him the Universe Holds Together"

Colossians 1:12-20

Letter to a New Church: Who are We, You and I? 
Paul is pacing up and down in prison (with Aristarchus, probably in Ephesus). He’s writing to believers he’s never met, a church taught by his co-worker Epaphras in the city of Colossae east of Ephesus, close to other cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea. Paul has been dealing with crises in Ephesus (2Cor 2:8-10) and in Corinth and Galatia. He is sending this letter to a Gentile community, by Tychicus (“Lucky”) and Onesimus (“Useful”), an escaped slave, now a believer, returning to Philemon, who is part of the community. A lot at stake. 
Paul could write some simple encouragements and instructions as an apostle. He does encourage and instruct, but there’s nothing superficial about Colossians.