“Build me up, Lord, keep me firmly rooted
So the truth I’ve found doesn’t become diluted
Let me abound in grace and wisdom
So I may not concede to a worldly system
Lord, make me stronger, take me farther and deeper,
Establish my steps, so I may be a way keeper”
[Excerpt from poem by ST – Artwork by Timaandra Wijesuriya]
You might recognise the verses that inspired ST to write this poem!
ST is a member of the IFES South Asia Scripture Engagement Multipliers Network which is made up of student ministry staff and graduate volunteers. Together we explore how God engages the hearts and minds of South Asians through his Word.
At a recent gathering of the Network, we reflected on Paul’s letter to the Colossians and its impact on us today. We noticed the underlying themes of power and wisdom in the letter and how Paul helps the small Christian community in Colossae to recognize Jesus as the true source of power and wisdom.
This sparked a discussion on where power rests in South Asian society (political entities, family relationships, social structures, memories and interpretations of history, etc.) and how we witness to Jesus and God’s kingdom in the midst of this reality.
We recognized the importance of letting the word of God dwell amongst us in a communal setting (Colossians 3:16) and how God uses those conversations to reveal the fault lines in our communities as well as in areas of our personal lives that need transformation.
For South Asian Christians – who form small, minority communities in their respective countries – this experience was both challenging and encouraging. In shame-oriented and violent cultures, airing personal and community issues presents a challenge. However, the witness of Paul, whose imprisonment by Roman authorities did not stop him proclaiming the universal Lordship of Jesus, was deeply encouraging.
As is evident in ST’s poem, itself inspired by reading Paul’s letter to the Colossians, God’s living Word continues to speak and minister to us in our various situations.
In the coming year, the IFES South Asia Scripture Engagement Multipliers hope to continue to meet, reflect on, and listen to God’s direction through his Word. In our gatherings, we want to spend time exploring Scripture engagement in terms of:
• Creative expression – exploring the interaction between the Scriptures and artistic expression (poetry, song, dance, drama, digital media etc.)
• Spiritual formation – exploring how the Scriptures lead us into greater personal intimacy with God and maturity in Christ
• Contextual engagement – exploring how the Scriptures speaks into the issues present in South Asian societies and mindsets
We’d value your prayers as we take these next steps together… and encourage you to share in this journey by reading Colossians in your contexts!
Scripture Engagement Lead – IFES South Asia