Rooted Forever in God’s Love.
Text: Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17
Beginning of this year my family back in Kenya began enjoying its very first flat screen TV after a long time of using a 14inch black and white TV with this huge hump behind it.
I remember back then how delighted I was after my dad bought this red great wall TV that marked the end of me and my siblings from sneaking out of our home and squeezing ourselves onto the neighbor’s door to watch one of my favorite animated movie series – Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
As a family, we were super excited to have this black and white TV famously known as Greatwall. Around 1995 – 1996 in Kenya, it was still a luxury for a family to own a black and white TV especially Great-Wall TV.
Little didn’t we know that it came with its challenges. Many times we had to recharge the batteries, the pictures would become blurry and we had to spend most of the evenings, especially me climbing the roof and trying to turn-turn the antenna around-around to find the strong signal so as to reduce the blurry picture.
The climbing and turning the antenna business came to halt when my dad bought the video cassette player – magically the blurriness disappeared and now we could enjoy our black and white clear pictures on our Great-Wall TV.
It didn’t take long before colored TV started flooding Kenya markets so my dad thought it would be nice if we could upgrade as a family. So instead of buying another TV, my dad opted to buy this plastic screen that we would place over our black and white TV screen
Does anyone remember using or their families putting plastic screens on their black and white TV?
So these screens were thin, transparent pieces of plastic that folks would stick to the TV screen. The top portion of the screen was blue for the sky, the middle had a reddish tint, and the bottom was green for grass. And boom there you go you had your colored TV.
Well back then my dad really hacked the black and white TV to a colored TV, of course, we were impressed by his ingenuity but not for a while. But technology was changing and the need to change our entertainment lifestyle needed to change. And this was even made clear by the media. Here is the tweet message from the media that threw us off. “Do you still have a TV as old as this Greatwall? It’s time to dispose of it safely.”
Indeed times are changing and the need for lifestyle change is here.
In today’s reading – a letter that Paul wrote about 1,000 years ago to a church in Colossae – present-day Turkey according to the National Geographic maps.
This letter was sent not just to remind them who they were in Christ but also it serves as a lens or a screen through which this early church could re-examine its identity in Christ Jesus. Just like what we would do nowadays before getting some of the social services like applying for a loan, doing tax returns even before being attended at the hospital one has to undergo some form of identity check to verify who they are before receiving any of these services. And we all know this identity verification is super important because of the identity theft that has caused so much damage and pain to many in our communities.
So Paul wrote this letter to this Colossae church that was going through a time of different teachings that even some promoted idolatry – worshiping of idols. Paul took this opportunity to remind them of who they were now, who they were once before, and who was to be when Christ returns.
I bet Paul really did a great job of helping this church to reflect on their identity as children of God who ought to seek good for their neighbors, seek Justice, and walk humbly with God.
And when I think and reflect on our Church as Hanscom UMC at this point in time when there are so many things that you can name them that can easily divide us and even breed hate among us but you as a church you choose the better option. And that better option is to guide your heart while focusing on the love of God; the author and the perfecter of your faith and that Jesus Christ who taught the love of God and our neighbors.
For those many months I have been here as an intern and now as an Associate Pastor. I have seen growth in this Church even during extraordinary times like during the pandemic – where you could sit back and do nothing, close the church doors but choose to love your neighbors. Those of our new Americans in need would find the needed amenities and love in action here at this church.
As you remember gathering in-persons was like a taboo and this was due to our safety but that didn’t change your identity as a family that stays together.
Many, many of you took a bold step to venture into a new norm on your screens at home you learned zooming (Zoom), joined our worship service via Facebook Live, upgraded the church technology accessibility, and even adopted this intern all the way from another continent. All these during an unprecedented time.
You all indeed upgraded church from streaming from a 5-inch iPhone screen to all this advanced technology with a dome-like camera and installed screens and many more to see everyone feel welcomed and loved.
You did it because you all are forever rooted in the love of God and nothing can separate you now, tomorrow, and even many days to come.
In less than six months you fed more than 1000 new Americans through All People’s Pantry. Not just ordinary food that can be found in our traditional food pantry but culturally appropriate food that you had to drive miles and miles to find so that all people might feel loved. You gave your time and talents so that there is enough for everyone in need in our diverse community.
This is exactly what Paul was reminding the Church of Colossians to never cease to be like Jesus Christ who had compassion for those who were sick, those who were hungry, those who needed shelter, and a place to call home for those folks whose personhood had been questioned, torn apart, diminished and excluded.
And Church this is the true gospel you stand for being in solidarity with the most vulnerable in our communities. Thanks be to God.
Rev. Peter Karanja