Colossians 1:11–14 NRSV
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Things may not always be as black and white as we want them to be, but of this we can be sure: there is a kingdom of light and a dominion of darkness. Unfortunately, we are all born into the dominion of darkness. This is the only plausible explanation for the unbridled desecration of creation and the enormity of brokenness in the world.
The gospel is that we have a God who “has enabled [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1:12 NRSV). This is how God did it: “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14 NRSV).
We must be rescued. Until we realize this we will remain lost.
I will never forget the time I had to be rescued. I was fifteen and deer hunting after school in an expansive tract of woods near our farm. At dusk, I spotted a buck, took aim, and felled the deer; or so I thought. He ran for what seemed like miles. After a solid hour of tracking, I found him, only to realize I was lost. And did I mention it was dark? I cried out in desperation for help. I fired my rifle down to the last shell. I could sense hoards of predators just out of sight, creeping towards me to devour my prey (and me!). No one came. They didn’t even know I was there. I was caught in the literal dominion of darkness. I could not see my hand in front of my face.
I needed to be rescued. I was, proverbially speaking, “deep in the heart of Texas” (only it was Arkansas). I would not find my way out of this fix, not even in the light of day. Time moved like a dead snail, when finally, I saw what looked like a flickering light in the distance. Then I heard his voice shouting my name, “John David! John David!” It was my father. He had come to rescue me. With tears in my eyes I ran toward that light and into the safety of his embrace.
That’s what rescue looks like; literally and figuratively. You can do the math from here. You already have.
I think I used to think I didn’t need to be rescued, that I wasn’t one of those kinds of people. Sure, I knew I was a sinner, but not that bad. I just needed a little Sunday school–esque straightening of the collar. Now I know better. The kind of sinner I thought I was is actually the worst kind of sinner because we think since we didn’t ride the Titanic to the bottom of the ocean we somehow don’t need as much grace as the ones who did. Now I recognize this as a lie from the pit of hell. The dominion of darkness is oh-so-deceptive. We all must be rescued, especially me. In fact, I will never become a real Christian until I know I am a real sinner.
Let us henceforth refer to Domino #1/13 as The 9-1-1 Domino.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who came into the deep, dark woods of this world, light in hand, to find us. We didn’t mean to get lost, but we did. Let me never forget the story of your rescuing me, lest I wander away again. And make me an agent of your rescue for others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Do you know your rescue story?
- How can we help one another to live fully in the kingdom of light?
- Have you learned to spot the creeping shadows of the dominion of darkness? What does it look like in your life? How are you learning to run toward the light?
For the Awakening,