Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
My apologies for not posting this Sunday, this due to family circumstances and this evening we heard
that my brother in law in New Zealand passed away. In the course of his life he never believed in God and did not want to have anything to do with Him. I tried and tried to convince him and the last few weeks, but he switched off. Also other clergy visited him in the hospice , but to no avail. Mary pray, Jesu have mercy.
We always give thanks to God . . . when we pray for you. (Colossians 1:3)
Huddled in a cramped, filthy concentration-camp barracks, Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie tried to thank God for their circumstances. It was the height of World War II, and they had been sent to Ravensbrück for sheltering Jews. Life in the camp was miserable, but the sisters thanked God they were together. It was overcrowded, but they thanked God that more women could hear them read their treasured Bible.
But the fleas! It was hard to be grateful for them.That is, until Betsie realized the flea infestation kept the guards from coming into their barracks and discovering their Bible!
Corrie and Betsie’s attitude of thankfulness changed their perspective. They realized that God was with them; he was at work even in the most awful situations.
This is what St. Paul is talking about when he tells the Colossians he always gives thanks to God for them.
The church in Colossae was in confusion. Some believers emphasized ceremonies and penances. Others focused on angels and heavenly powers. Paul knew the Colossians risked forgetting the freedom they had received in Christ. But he was in prison and couldn’t visit them to help them sort things out. So he decided to pray for them and write to them.
Instead of fretting over the dangers of false doctrine or misleading rituals, Paul reminded the Colossians of all the great things God had done in them so far. He gave thanks that God was already working. He rejoiced that God was already present in their challenging situation, and he invited them to rejoice with him.
This attitude can help you when you’re interceding too. Like Paul, you can give thanks and look for the ways that God is present in the people you are praying for. Like Corrie and Betsie, you can lift your eyes off their suffering and see the ways the Holy Spirit is already working things out for them. As you thank God, you won’t be so caught up in their problems; instead, you’ll find your hope and trust growing. You’ll be confident that he can bring good out of even the most difficult situation, even something as unpleasant as an infestation of fleas!
“Thank you, Lord, for your presence in the situations I’m praying for. Show me your positive action in each circumstance.”
Father Ed Bakker
The Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania