This week’s communion discussion prompt was from Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Then, the question, “How does communion call us to clothe ourselves with compassion?”
First off, what is compassion? Merriam-Webster’s definition is “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” Also, “While empathy refers to an active sharing in the emotional experience of the other person, compassion adds to that emotional experience a desire to alleviate the person’s distress.” So, compassion is not only feeling pity or sadness for someone who is suffering, but also wanting to find a way to help them out of it.
So, again, how does communion call us to clothe ourselves with compassion?
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of compassion. He looked out at us, in all of our humanity, in our sinfulness, in our brokenness, and said, “I love them. I want to help them. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.” And He did. And we are reminded of that every time we take communion. It reminds us of His willingness to take on our suffering, to defeat death for us. He felt for us, felt our suffering with us, and did what only He could to help us out of it. He clothed Himself with compassion for our sin and our brokenness and clothed us with His grace and mercy.
To be a Christian is to be Christ-like. When we come together, we are reminded that we are all one body in Him. We are all broken, we are all sinful. We look across at our brothers and sisters and see their suffering and want to help them. We clothe ourselves in the same compassion Christ had for us and do what we can for them. Whether it is being able to literally lift a burden they are carrying, or just being there to support them, we do what we can. We take the grace and mercy he has clothed us with and pass it on to them.
And it’s a conscious decision we make. Just like every day, you have to look in your closet and decide what to wear and make effort to get dressed, every day you have to choose to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. It’s a whole lot easier to run around naked, and it’s a whole lot easier to act selfishly and uncaringly. But we choose to put on Christ and let other see Him in us. To act like Him, as His chosen people. To show the world what it means to be holy and beloved by God. And to pull our Christ-clothes out of our closet and give them to someone else who needs them.