Therefore let no-one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. — Colossians 2:16-17
In this passage St. Paul reminds us that through His sacrificial death and resurrection, Christ fulfilled the law and set us free from the demands of the law, human traditions and the doctrines of men. Our Lutheran Confessions reflect on this truth when they confess that human rites and rules regarding what we eat or drink, how we dress, or when and how we worship ‘neither merit the forgiveness of sins or justification before God, nor are they necessary for justification’ and ‘human traditions are not acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God.’ Consciences are not to be burdened as though observing such things is necessary for salvation.
In the modern world many people are easily fooled. The so-called ‘reality’ television shows are designed to make us think that this is the way life really should or could be. Video games are called ‘virtual reality’. From these things we can get a false picture of what will truly give us lasting joy and meaning. If we chase these ideals we will find that they are but shadow – meaningless and counterfeit.
St. Paul tells us that reality is indeed Jesus Christ, who alone purchased and won us from sin, death and the devil by His death on the cross and resurrection. He alone is the way, the truth and the life.
By God’s grace, we stop chasing shadows and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is our Saviour. With God’s help, we understand that who we are is based on whose we are. Real and meaningful life is found only in Christ!
Help me, O Lord, to stop chasing shadows and to rely on You for genuine meaning and lasting joy; through Christ I pray, Amen.