Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17 NIV)
What is the peace of Christ? The Greek word translated peace in this passage has a wide range of meanings. It can mean the absence of war, or it can mean harmony between individuals, or it can mean a general sense of well-being. It is possible that Paul intends us to think of all these things as we read these words. There is a spiritual war still going on, but Satan is defeated, and we do not have to live as if our lives are threatened. As subjects in Christ’s kingdom we are to live victorious lives surrounded by the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35-39)
Given the direction that Paul is headed the idea of harmony between individuals is being emphasized. As subjects in Christ’s kingdom we are all included in one body. We are not the same and this is essential to the functioning of the body. I’m not a musical person and have never been able to sing a harmony part. However, I enjoy the sound when those who do it well sing. The key to the relational harmony that Paul is describing is the willingness of each member of the body to submit to the head which is Christ.
Finally, when we live as victorious people in harmony with one another there will be a general sense of well-being. We can enjoy one another and encourage one another regardless of the circumstances that surround us.
I’ve been thinking about worship and how to convey that worship is an attitude or a lifestyle. Worship is certainly much more than the musical time during a Sunday morning gathering. This time of singing certainly should be a time of worship and will be if we are singing to God with a grateful heart. Taking the garbage out on Tuesday evening should also be a time of worship. For me, it is a time to be grateful for all the material blessings God has provided that enable me to have trash and recycling to be picked up. It is also an opportunity to serve my neighbors by moving their containers to the curb. We are always subjects of the King, Christ, and everything we do represents Him.
If Paul is describing worship in this passage, then gratitude is at the core of worship. It is the attitude which produces the harmony with one another that bursts out in songs of praise. One of the joys of my Mom’s memorial service this past Saturday was my wife and her brother singing harmony together. They are two very different people, but they make beautiful music together. Paul sometimes describes the smell of believers. I wonder if there is also a sound that believers should make. I think there is. It should be the ringing harmony of different lives blending together in the song of the King rather than the grating discord of individual agendas clashing with one another.
For my grandchildren:
You know how to create harmony with an instrument. Learn how to create harmony with your life.