“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, . . . not on earthly things . . . Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature . . . you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language . . . you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self . . .
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another . . . And over all these virtues put on love . . .” – Colossians 3:1-14
I bought my dad’s 1976 Dodge Dart off of him sometime in 1981. In 1984 the main engine bearing blew and Mary and I coasted into Trout Creek, just south of North Bay. We emptied the car and took the bus home. We had known for awhile that the Dart was nearing the end of its life, so we had been saving up money for over a year. So, with our hard earned cash, we went out and bought a brand new 1984 Chrysler Laser.
I was so proud of that car and I worked really hard to keep it new and shiny. It had light grey upholstery so I mastered cleaning spots with a tooth brush, dish detergent and vinegar. There was a touch free car wash between my work and home and I went through it so often the car could drive its own way through the wash. And, I remember the first scratch. What a bitter moment! I drove under a low hanging tree branch and to this day I remember the sound of paint being scraped.
When I sold the car six years later (we had a third child and the car was a four seater), it was still pristine.
So, what does my car story have to do with Colossians 3:1-14? Well first this story comes with a confession. I have owned five cars (some new, some used) since and not one of them has been as well taken care of as the Laser. And, as a result, they were rather shabby by the end of their lives.
Paul in this portion of the letter to the Colossians is contrasting the life that we have left before Christ with the new life of faith that we have begun in Christ. He talks about the things that we need to leave behind, the things that scruff us up, scratch us and leave us dull and dirty. And, he talks about the new stuff that we take on in Christ, the things that shine.
What happens often when people discover this new life in Christ is that they immediately take on that new “shine”, you could almost think of it as that new car smell. The problem is that we soon lose that shine, if we don’t work at keeping it up. It is easy for the old habits to emerge and soon we are looking scuffed up and shabby.
So, as you take on this new life in Christ, remember you have to work at it every day, or soon, like my 1976 Dodge Dart, you will blow a bearing and end up as scrap!
This Sunday, September 29/19, The Sunday Gathering will be at North Bramalea United Church. Services there are at 9am and 11am. If you need a ride, let me know and we will arrange something for you.