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40 Day Spiritual Journey – March 31
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Saturday, March 31

Scripture for the Day: Colossians 2 

Historically, Easter brings intense emotions and acts of devotion.  Priests and monks would wear garments made of burlap as a reminder to associate with the suffering of Christ.  One of the greatest musical works of all time, Handel’s Messiah’s, music composition was written in an intense 24 day period reflecting on Christ’s incarnation, passion and glorification.  Recently, Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ serves as a graphic reminder of the suffering Jesus experienced.  It is Christ’s suffering that have lead many Christians to associate Easter with intentionally giving up comforts such as meat or chocolate to associate and reflect on Jesus’ suffering.

Colossians 3:3-4 give other disciplines we can associate with Easter.  They make a strong statement of our identity being hidden with God through a death, mortification, a suffering that was accomplished by Jesus.  Being dead with Jesus brings freedom from being trapped by behaviors associated with being alive to sin.  Colossians 3:8-9 explain this-But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3: 12-15 tell us what our hearts should be practicing or set on-So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Colossians 3 reminds us that more important than giving up chocolate and red meat or even composing a choral masterpiece.  It is practicing humility, thankfulness, compassion, patience, and forgiving as Christ has forgiven. These are to be all acts of devotion for every Christian.  As a practice of spiritual discipline, consider eating chocolate, beef, or whatever food you enjoy most.  Be sincerely thankful for them. When interacting with people, practice patience, compassion and forgiveness.  Let these define your intense devotion in response to the suffering of Christ.

Jonathan Lyon, Adjunct Professor of Bible and Theology and Christian Education

Prayer

Lord, we desire to practice and put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  We long to live out of love and for the world to see our unity.  May the Spirit empower us to do so!