When you look at a blanket, or a garment, or some other creation that has been made by knitting, you will notice something profound.
In the simplest pieces, a single strand of yarn interlocks with itself to create wide swaths of fabric. In more complex pieces, multiple strands of yarn are interlocked together to create unified wholes. This interlocking pattern is very important. It allows the garment or cloth to be strong, to hold together, and to function correctly. It creates both beauty and utility. However, if when being knitted together, something was done wrong, or if one of the “interlocks” comes undone, the whole garment can begin to unravel. This can leave the cloth with gaping holes. It becomes unsightly, and may even cease to function effectively for its intended purpose. But when done correctly, multiple strands of yarn, and even multiple separate pieces of knitting can be united in a single, useful, and beautiful tapestry that is resistant to unraveling.
Paul envisioned such a tapestry for the church at Colossae, as well as all Christian churches throughout history. He writes that he wants them to be knit together in love so that they can come to know and understand the mystery of God, which is found in Christ (Colossians 2:2). In other words, he wanted every believer at Colossae to be interlocked with every other believer at Colossae. He wanted that interlocking to be something he called love. There are many words in Greek for love, but the word that Paul uses for “love” in that verse is the Greek word “agape.” This isn’t a word that is based on transient feelings. Instead, it’s a word that is based on faithfulness and commitment to the well being of others, good will and choice. It is the kind of love that God has for his people. He loved us to the point of willful death.
Paul seemed to understand that if each of us is interlocked with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters in a true commitment to the well being of those brothers and sisters, that our churches would better comprehend God’s mystery – his love that is modeled by Jesus.