In Colossians 1:15-20 Paul and Timothy write of Jesus, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
From the time I was a young boy, I have been interested in astronomy. I am far from a scientific expert, but reading all things astronomical has been somewhat of a hobby of mine throughout the years. When I was a boy my parents gave me a telescope for Christmas. It was quite nice and top of the line. My brother and I spent many evenings looking at the moon and the planets through that mechanism. We were able to view the insides of lunar craters, we saw the spot of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. To this day, it boggles my mind when I think of the fact that I was able to see in close-up fashion, celestial bodies that were hundreds of thousands to millions of miles away.
It boggles the mind that the God of the Universe, the God who hurled the planets into their orbits and put the stars into place, the God who seemed so wholly other, would get up close and personal in the flesh of Jesus Christ. But even before this God put on a human face, he held the universe together by his very existence. As he is before all things, so all things find their fulfillment in him.
We must note that God was not only interested in keeping the universe together in an orderly fashion, but rather God did what was necessary to reconcile the universe to itself and its Creator. God was not satisfied with forgiveness without correcting the offense; indeed nothing less than re-creation would suffice.
Which is why Paul moves so easily from the reconciliation of the universe to the redemption of humanity: "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."
The cross of Jesus Christ is not an individualistic redemptive event reserved solely for isolated persons, but it is the very act by which creation is brought together. Jesus is able to redeem humanity because he is able to hold the universe together by the word of his power. Jesus is the glue that holds together the universe and he is the Head of the Body, the Church, the glimpse of the new creation God intends for the world.
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Monday, July 11, 2016
Jesus, the Glue of the Universe: A Lectionary Reflection on Colossians 1:15-28
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