12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17, CEB
I find the second half of verse 15 jarring. “And be thankful people.” It seems out of place….and a bit trite. At least, it does at first glance.
I began thinking about this passage about a week ago and found that addition to verse 15 just a bit strange. But the more I thought about it the more sense it seemed to make. By and large, we’ve learned that we tend to experience God most palpably through the lives of other people in our community. God is the source of all good things, including: love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness. If we learn to practice these things in community then we’re not just giving and receiving these things we’re also experiencing the very presence of God (and/or God’s spirit…I don’t know the proper terminology here) in our midst.
We long for God’s presence. Many of us have gone through times of prolonged silence. But, if we find him in the lives of those around us, he is never fully silent. So let’s bind ourselves together in the practices of Colossians 3 and allow God to be fully on display in and around our community as a whole and our lives individually.