Official Website of CSI Parish Kattakada, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Official Website of CSI Parish Kattakada, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
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Carrying “The Image”


(Message from Rev. Prasanth S.P.)



One fine winter morning in Manchester railway station, an eleven year old blind boy Jim, an apple seller carries a tray with full of apples was moving among the crowd. When the train came, people started rushing towards it. Unfortunately somebody pushed Jim and the tray fell down. The apples scattered around. He sat down and looked downwards. He can hear the sounds of people crushing the apples. His eyes filled with tears. Along with other sounds he heard somebody placed the tray near to him and putting some apples into it. When he was about to leave, Jim asked are you Jesus? He just touched Jim and moved away. This may be a story, but Jim was having an image of Jesus in his mind and that he could meet that image of Jesus in a person who helped him at the railway station.
In Colossians 1:15-23, Paul explains about the image of Jesus Christ, its specialties and influences.
Colossae, was once a great and powerful city, had declined by the first century into a small city in the southern part of Phyrgia, which was in the west of modern Turkey, located in the Lycus River Valley near the more populous cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea. The city’s population consists mainly of indigenous Phyrgians, Greek settlers and Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylon. Because of this mixed population, this city had diverse cultural and religious elements met and mingled. The site of ancient Colossae, in recent years, nothing more than a problem for studying by archeologists.
Probably during Paul’s Ephesian ministry, a Colossian, Epaphras, had been won to Christ. Subsequently he returned to his native city, and there found a little Christian Church. In all probability this little band of Christians received little notice from its pagan neighbors. For a while this little Church gained the attention of a religious- philosophical group whose heretical teaching created confusion, not only in this Church, but in other Churches throughout Asia.
Perhaps a feeling that Paul alone could cope with these teachings, Epaphras reported the situation to Paul who was in Prison in Rome. The result is the epistle to the Colossians. Assuming that Paul wrote this letter during his first Roman imprisonment, we may date it somewhere around 63 A.D. 


II


Paul reveals the relation of Jesus Christ with God in this portion. He mentioned seven unique Characteristics of Christ. Christ is the image of God, the first born over creation, creator of the universe, Head of the Church, Firstborn from the dead, the fullness of god and the reconciler of all the creation. When Paul declares that Jesus Christ is the image of invisible God, he mediates the truths of the invisible God, the image of the invisible God and the identity of the invisible God.
In the Pauline writing, Christ is the image of the invisible God, image implies representation and manifestation. As Jesus said, “ Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father”. In St. John’s view ‘no one has ever seen God, but God the only son has made him known’. This shows the importance of carrying the image.
 In this present context as Christians we all like to carry the image of Christ in different ways. Some may put the portrayal of Jesus Christ as the wall paper of their laptop or mobile, some may put the same as the background of their Facebook or other social network profile; a few of us may set a Christian devotional song as our mobile ring tone….does it exactly mean that we are carrying the image of Christ..??
Carrying the image of Jesus Christ simply means carrying the cross. Bonheoffer says, carrying the cross for others in our life is the basic requirement for becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
Carrying the image of Jesus Christ requires two qualities,
Firstly, Carrying the image of Jesus Christ means Echoing words of Jesus Christ:
As a most effective communicator in the world, Jesus used his words very powerfully and sensitively. His words were hope for the hopeless, peace for the broken, encouragement for the depressed and sound for the soundless. He also used his words to criticize the power manipulation of Roman colonialist and Jewish religious leadership.
Unfortunately most of us become passive hearers instead of responsible listeners. Most often we shut our mouth for pleasing the hierarchies, authorities and political powers. For our achievements, we purposefully forget the poor, needy, oppressed and marginalized.  So the image of Christ is asking us to be more reflective on the words of Christ.
Secondly, Carrying the image of Jesus Christ means Imitating deeds of Jesus Christ:
Jesus’ intervention in the real life of the marginalized people in first century Palestine reveals the love of God towards God’s children.  He was not only teaching through words, rather he shows the meaning of his teaching through his action. Touch the person who affected with leprosy and teach about healing, eat with the sinners and set a space for  transformation, share the love with the traitor and show  the meaning of communion etc… reveals how Christ words accompanied deeds.
Now a days, we write a lot, preach well but fail to do what we wrote and fail to practice what we preached. Because of our irresponsible discipleship the corruption prevail in all phases of life, Dalits and tribal oppressed in different manners, girls raped, women harassed, children abused..the list continues.
Paul’s advices to Colossians encourage us to carry the image of Jesus Christ like Christ carries the image of God. Number of people like Jim move around us with the image of Christ in their mind and search for the people those who are carrying the similar image.
Are we ready to carry the image of Christ?
May God help us to carry the image of Christ through Echoing words and Imitating deeds of Jesus Christ in our life…. Amen.


Rev.Prasanth S.P.