Memory Work Verse 5- Col. 3:16
Memory Work 5- Col. 3:16-
Let the message of Christ dwell among you all richly as all of you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in all of your hearts.
Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae would have been carried by a messenger and then read to the entire church. Think about the plural “yous” in this passage; Paul is speaking to the entire congregation and tells all of them “Let the message of Christ dwell among y’all richly as all y’all teach and admonish one another with all wisdom… with gratitude in y’all’s hearts.” This isn’t instruction to the pastor, this is practical theology for the members of the church.
We know from the book of Philemon that in this church there are rich and poor, masters and slaves, men and women. Into this culture Paul writes “Let the message of Christ dwell among y’all richly as all y’all teach and admonish one another with all wisdom”. In the family of God each of us carries the Spirit of God and God works through each of us. Encouraging and lifting up our brothers and sisters is a gift from God to the entire church.
How does Paul encourage these people to do it? It is not through deep theological arguments, nor through extensive persuasive rhetoric and apologetics. Paul’s encouraging instruction is to “teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” The songs that touch our hearts and lift up our souls are the very thing that is meant to teach us and to encourage others. The tune from church that can’t get out of your head as you go to work on Monday morning is the very thing that reminds us of the Message of Christ, the Good News.
This sounds very simplistic and perhaps too good to be true. Karl Barth (pronounced “Bart”- a German theologian who wrote more than I thought possible in one lifetime and changed the landscape of Western theology in the early 20th Century) was asked if he could sum up his life’s work in a single sentence. His response? “Yes, I can. In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Sing on Church!