One of the "assignments" I give people who take my class on Colossians is to write targums from the text. A targum takes an ancient text and re-envisions it in the modern world, almost like an exercise in imagining what Paul would have written if he wrote Colossians yesterday. This one, from Carol Steele on Colossians 3:1-17, was phenomenal, in my opinion:
You chose the red pill, the blood-red pill of a redeemed life, so live like there is no going back to death—no more of the zombie-lifestyle. Your tombstone reads, ‘NO FEAR: Jesus was here’…so live it out…live it loud.
Shut down the carnival of your body where the price of admission is a piece of your soul. It’s not a public Wonderland or Neverland Ranch, dirt to be trampled on. Your body is a holy house, a Beit HaMikdash, for the presence of God. When you took the king’s outstretched hand, he pulled your corpse out of the landfill of self-gratification, and is leading you out of its tomb—a tomb of dark thinking, dark talking, dark living. Leave that filthy and diseased life to die in the tomb of its own making, leave it to die from starvation, let it go, walk away, don’t look back, cover your ears if you have to, plug your nose if need be, cut off all your senses from it’s death.
Instead, work towards a degree in kingdom-life theology, not ‘life-through-the-drive-thru’ thinking, grabbing what you can and moving on to the next opportunity for consumption. Instead, keep looking ahead, breathe in the kingdom air, and see the advancing freedom. Prepare for its arrival by dressing up in the ‘Designer of the Universe’ label. Choose from the ‘Compassion’ line. Set it off with accessories of ‘Unity’, stamped with the trademark of the ‘already-not yet’ kingdom. Pierce your tongues with words of encouragement. Tattoo your body language with pictures of the love God has shown to you. Wear contacts of prophetic imagination—seeing what The Creator sees. Put on the perfume of peaceful, holy living.
Your assignment: practice the anthem of ‘second fiddle’, while writing new melodies and poems of community life. Throw lots of coronation parties, and invite anything that breathes; variety is the spice of kingdom family-life. Don’t just send instant messages, but use the personal touch, face-to-face, hearts joining hearts.
When you feel like you’re ‘losing it’, stay away from ‘The People’s Court’; don’t appear before Judge Judy, but hold it together with The Christ’s unselfish love, the cohesive agent of the kingdom.
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