One of the short Scripture passages given in the Rite of Penance (81) is this powerful piece from Saint Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Colossians. Scripture geeks may notice that these three verses precede the christological hymn of 1:15-20.
Many biblical scholars see this passage as hymnic also. Is it a musical prelude and part of the larger piece? My main purpose with this post is not to belabor the literary/theological aspects, but mainly to give some food for spiritual thought. If verses 12 through 14 are a lyrical addition, that might inform our prayer. Would we be in the Augustinian territory of “praying twice,” by rendering our communication with God in song? If we are giving thanks, shall we not sing it? Verse 12 is quite an affirmation, for starters. God’s grace draws us into the family of holiness:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
Saint Paul or the lyricist shifts from second person address to first person plural.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Redemption and reconciliation is a gift from God to the community of believers.
When we approach the Lord, we achieve by grace a status in the light and love of God. Our “political” standing is shifted. From darkness into light. From bondage into freedom. From the kingdoms of the world into the Reign of God. The badge of our allegiance–our citizenship papers if you will–is the experience of redemption in Christ. I can imagine a band of believers being taken up, offering a parting “Nyah, nyah, nyah” to the shadows left behind.
I like the shorter Scriptures of the Reconciliation Lectionary. They are no less rich than the usual ten to fifteen verses we get in RP 101-201. One idea to focus. This short section from Colossians–very focused. Especially for this season of Lent.