Wesley Word – August 17, 2022
To go along with service on: Sunday, August 21st
Colossians: In Christ Alone – Serving In Christ
We are continuing with our series in Colossians called, “In Christ Alone.” In today’s text, Paul talks about Christian relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves.
We have no problem with the idea that children should obey their parents and that parents should care for their children. However, we are often triggered in our modern era by the mention of wives being submissive to their husbands and by the idea of slavery.
I will dig deep into how we apply this text to the relationship between women and men during my sermon on Sunday, so you will have to come on Sunday, or watch online, to hear that. For now, to reduce your anxiety about it, let me just say that it may not mean what you think it means.
For this Wesley Word, I want to deal with the issue of slavery in the ancient world. As Americans, slavery is an issue that conjures a lot of emotion, and rightly so, because of the evil history of our nation. The legacy of African slavery in this country touched every person and institution, north and south, including the Methodist movement, and its bitter fruit continues right up until this very day.
Like American slavery, ancient slavery could be defined as involuntary servitude or forced labor, so it was not a good thing. However, slavery, as it was practiced in the world of the Bible, was very different than what was practiced in America’s history. First, ancient slavery was not based on race. People of all races were slaves and owned slaves. Second, by and large, people were not captured as slaves. While it is true that people who were defeated in war often became slaves, people being kidnapped and kept or sold as slaves was uncommon and is forbidden in the Bible. (Exodus 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:10) Mostly, people were enslaved because of debt, and often slavery in the ancient world was temporary, or at least one could buy or earn one’s freedom.
A careful reading of the Bible would reveal acknowledgment, but not necessarily approval, of slavery. The early church was attractive to slaves because of the equality and opportunity it promised. The church had to be careful so that it was not seen as inciting insurrection which would have only increased persecution by the authorities. Therefore, Christian slaves were encouraged to serve well as a witness to their non-Christian masters.
It would be completely reasonable to translate Paul’s instructions to masters and slaves as applying to employers and employees today. Christian workers should work hard and do their best and Christian bosses should be kind and fair.
To come back to the overall point of this passage, Paul is encouraging all of us, no matter our roles, to love and serve one another like we are serving Christ because, actually, we are.
A note about audio for the online services: We have heard from some people that they are having trouble hearing the online services, while others say it is “fine.” We are limited in the kind of sound quality we can capture during a live service in our sanctuary, especially with some musical pieces, we are doing our best. Your experience may vary based on your internet connection and the device you are using. It seems that computers tend to work better than smartphones. You may also try using earbuds or headphones.
New Testament in a Year: https://wesleyonline.org/biblereading/
- August 17 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
- August 18 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
- August 19 1 Corinthians 12:1-26
- August 20 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
- August 21 1 Corinthians 14:1-17
- August 22 1 Corinthians 14:18-40
- August 23 1 Corinthians 15:1-28
- August 24 1 Corinthians 15:29-58
Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity
Did you know when you become a Christian you belong to two families? You belong to the family here on earth and you also belong to God’s family.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28
God was the ultimate master, as He created all things. If we look at the definition of master we can better understand why He was the ultimate master- one having authority over another per the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Jesus Christ, as part of His mission on Earth, was to set straight our understanding of the Father by displaying Him (His character) to the world. And Jesus did so through submitting to the Holy Spirit of God and the Father. He did this to show us that this was how it was to be in the beginning. It is only through submitting to the assigned and ordained roles that God places each of us in that we properly reflect His order and completion.
Take a step out your door, go to a park or sit outside and watch the clouds, as you do this, remind yourself that God created all of this from nothing because His love for us is so great. If you pick a flower, yes, even a dandelion, hold it, think that you are right now holding something that God created with love for us.
- Fall Kick-Off Sunday is August 28. One worship service at 10:00 am followed by a kick-off party at the Wesley Family Life Center. We will have a catered cookout meal, games and a jump house! Easy desserts are needed. Please contact Jessica at 563-263-1596 or via email email@example.com if you are able to help with set-up, clean-up, or pick-up. We are collecting backpacks for children in the school district. Please bring them this day.