March 28 – Colossians 2:16-3:4

On “losing the plot”

“He’s totally lost the plot.”

That would be the way that my British friends would describe someone who has lost touch with reality, gone a tad irrational, or perhaps (more seriously) is suffering a significant mental health breakdown.

And it’s an incredibly apt way to put it.

When you “lose the plot,” you find yourself disoriented, confused, and undoubtedly anxious, because you can’t quite put it all together. The story of your life has lost its sense of meaning, direction and hope.

It is no wonder, then, that much of what we do in personal psychotherapy is deep plot restoration. Something is amiss. The story isn’t making sense. You’ve hit a dead end. Your story has reached an impasse, a plot conflict, and you can’t find a way to resolution.

Or maybe the story has a plot that no longer rings true. Maybe there were past moments of plot tension, betrayal, trauma and perhaps abuse that make it impossible to find a new plot, a new narrative meaning to your life.

Well, that’s when we are on the precipice of “losing the plot.”

When Paul was writing to the young Christian community in Colossae, he was worried that they might lose the plot.

And well might he have worried. They were so young in their Christian faith that they didn’t yet have very deep roots in the story of Jesus. This was a plot under constant threat.

So the apostle writes to encourage their faith and to warn them.

With a sense of parental affection and protection he wants to secure them against stories, worldviews and ideologies that would strip them of their identity in Christ, rob them of their freedom in Christ, and take them captive to visions that look good, but are a sham.

In a phrase, he doesn’t want them “to lose the plot.”

And the best way not “to lose the plot” is by finding your life ever more deeply embedded in the plot-structure of the story of Jesus.

That’s why, in Colossians 2 and the beginning of chapter 3, with the repetition of the phrase “in him,” Paul persistently identifies the story of Jesus as the story of these Colossian Christians.

In him you have died.
In him you have been buried.
In him you have been raised.
So set your minds on the one who sits at the right hand of God in heaven.
For when he is revealed, so also will you be revealed.

There it is.

The basic plot line of the life of Jesus:
coming again.

Or as we so often say together in the Eucharist,
Christ has died,
Christ has risen,
Christ will come again.

And Paul is saying that the story of Jesus, is the story of his followers.
What happened to Jesus, happens to us.

Paul writes a letter to this community so they will understand the plot, and not lose it.

That’s really why we gather on Tuesday mornings as well.

Most of us have felt, at one time or another, like we are losing the plot.
We’ve had these painful experiences of our story coming apart.

And often enough, it has been a story about Jesus, or at least a particular telling of that story, a particular way in which that story has been taken up in destructive ways, that has so deeply bruised us.

So we gather at a table of remembrance. We tell the story anew, listening for a plot that sets us free, rather than holds us captive. We sing that story as a liberation song. We are invited into the story of Jesus as a healing story, a story of deep forgiveness, a story that has a plot that goes beyond death to resurrection.

We come together, dear friends, so that we don’t lose the plot.
We come together, beloved siblings, as if our life depends on this story.

And it does.

This week at Wine Before Breakfast: Colossians 2.16-3.4:

Beth CM will be preaching. She knows something about finding ourselves in the story of Jesus.
Luke will set the table and Andrew A will serve the meal of remembrance.
Kiegan has crafted our prayers.
Amanda has curated our worship.
And Deb and the bandhood are mixing up some Laura Marling, Curtis Mayfield, a little gospel and some classic hymns to help us find the plot anew, in case we were losing it.

And remember, friends, WBB is called to be a community of hospitality. So if you’ve got some friends looking for a plot to make sense out of their lives, invite them to our story-telling gathering on an early Tuesday morning.

In Christ,

Campus Pastor

March 21 – Colossians

Discipleship and Mixed Metaphors
In his iconic song, “Forever Young,”
Bob Dylan weaves together a lovely mixed metaphor:
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
Busy hands and swift feet,
yet a strong foundation,
something immovable in the face of changing winds.
Curiously enough, St. Paul mixes metaphors
in a very similar way.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him,
rooted and built up in Him
and established in the faith,
as you have been taught,
abounding in with thanksgiving. (Col. 2.6-7, NKJV)
Since you have received Christ,
that is, since you have embraced
the word of truth that is revealed in Jesus,
walk in him (with swift feet perhaps),
keep moving, don’t stand still.
And yet, this is a dynamism
that is rooted like a tree,
built up like a secure building,
established like something that isn’t going anywhere.
Then he returns to a dynamic metaphor at the end,
abounding, or overflowing, bubbling over, in thanksgiving.
There is something to these mixed metaphors, friends.
Something worth meditating on during our Lenten journey.
Indeed, these mixed metaphors get at the heart of Christian discipleship.
Christian life is both dynamic, changing, growing and on the move,
and secure, rooted, and established.
If all you have is dynamism and change,
then you end up with a faith without discernment,
a faith without grounding.
If all you have is securely established faith with immovable foundations,
then you end up with a faith without life,
a faith stuck in a dead orthodoxy.
At Wine Before Breakfast
we are looking for a faith that is dynamic,
rooted in Jesus, the Truth of God.
We are looking for a faith that is secure,
dynamically led by Jesus, who is the Way.
That’s the kind of faith that Paul commends
in his letter to the Colossians,
and still commends to us all these years later.
This week at WBB …
Jacqueline preaches and presides.
Megan sets the table.
Amanda is crafting our prayers.
While Deb and the bandhood mixes it up with Sarah Slean, Bruce Springsteen, a little gospel and some classic hymnody.
Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday, March 21 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe Chapel
Hope to see you there.
Brian Walsh
Campus Pastor