This scripture verse actually seems quite simple. It is one we have been taught since childhood and one that many of us try to live by on a daily basis. We try very hard to do everything in the name of the Lord, and we try to remember to give thanks to his throughout out spiritual journey of growth.
Yet, when it was written to the Colossians, it was a very different time and circumstance. Let us see if the intention of this verse was also very different and if the ancient people of Colossus were very different from us.
Preceding verses address the fact that love must come before all else and that love surpasses al other virtues. This need for love is repeated in Paul’s letters to the Romans and Corinthians. It is this surpassing love which is the bond that ties them in completeness or perfection. The one body of Christ is complete. There is almost the quality of a prayer for the role of Christ’s peace within and among them; to such a life they have been called.
The words, ‘Be the grateful ones,’ are meant to be taken literally, giving thanks recalls the liturgical character of much of this letter and, at this point, both introduces and concludes a brief description of the worship of the community,
The first element of the worship is the word of Christ as recorded in the Gospel, which is at work in the community through teaching and admonition in all wisdom. The second element is singing with gratitude in your hearts, not with lips only. It is neither necessary nor possible to distinguish among psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, All are offered in praise and gratitude to God for what God has done in Christ.
We find that we are not terrible different from the biblical historians nor the people of Colossus. We understand this verse today much as it was meant to be understood so long ago. May we, by the grace of God, continue to do everything in the name of the Lord and give thanks to God, our father in heaven.
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