By Pat Russell
Considering the Sermon by Mike Banta, entitled "Grateful for Good News," on November 22, 2020
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
As we come to the last Sunday before Advent, Mike reminded us that we have been preparing for living in the Kingdom of Heaven each Sunday in November. We are in transition as a church and that transition will lead us more deeply into the Kingdom of Heaven. What a wonderful way to conclude this series by thinking about the glorious Good News given us by God for which we can be thankful!
I hope you filled in your sermon notes as we played Jeopardy with Paul! This was just a portion of a letter filled with all the goodness of God given to the Colossians. You could read the whole book this Thanksgiving week! After all, we too are a small town like Colossae near a big city. You can also use your notes to strengthen your “thanks muscle” in these unprecedented days. Here is what I suggest:
Take the points given in Topics 1 & 2 and turn them into short prayers of thanks. For example, the first point under Topic 1 is: “We are strengthened with all power.” My prayer of thanks – “Lord, thank you for giving me all power to serve Larry while he is recovering from his knee surgery.” Or for the third point, “We share in the inheritance of the saints in Light,” my prayer of thanks is, “Thank you for the life of my friend Carol who is now among the saints in Light. I am grateful to be able to share with her in Your inheritance.” OK, now you try. You might even want to do this on Thanksgiving Day.
Did you look up Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting after the service this morning? I did. I had to see the focus of his work through the story that Mike related this morning. Nothing distracting from Christ. “Christ alone.”
If you didn’t, you may want to take time to go deeper by doing what Phil Wood described as “visio divina.” Here are his suggestions for going deeper in your spiritual life through dwelling on a painting. “What is going on in this painting? What details do you notice? What may be inferred but not seen? What do you read in the faces of the people? What might God be saying to you, personally, through this work of art?” I would add, study Jesus’ hands and the space around Jesus. What does that say to you about Christ alone that was so important to da Vinci?
Let’s make this a week of unprecedented THANKS GIVING!