We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.
I am writing later in the day than normal. It’s high noon. I spent the morning thinking, walking, and mowing. I also spent some time in what I call “The Scroll.” That’s where you scroll the various newsfeeds that you choose to be part of.
It’s interesting, most of what I see in The Scroll is people attempting to keep others out and separated from one another. There is this constant and consistent effort to determine who is on “our side” and who is on “their side.” Everywhere I look it appears to be a race toward baptizing or crucifying one in the same person, idea, culture, or community.
I was listening to a podcast this morning while I was mowing about conversation and why it is so difficult. One of the recommendations from this episode from linguist Deborah Tannen was to believe the best in all of your conversation partners. She said that in so doing you might possibly underestimate the negative intentions of some, but that on the whole you would be able to have significantly better conversations. It seems to me, and her, that benefit of doing so would largely outweigh the negative.
I had all this swimming around in my head as I read the passage today from Colossians and it hit me, like it never has before, how all encompassing the gospel is. What Christ has done and what Christ is seeking to do is to tear down the walls that separate us.
Consider this bit again: So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.
If you want the more literal translation it goes like this: 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.
There is nothing in all the universe that has not been reconciled by Christ. Somehow the infinite dwells in Christ. This should boggle the mind, challenge the heart, and ignite our souls.
Christ has reconciled all things. If there are irreconcilable differences that is because we are intentionally seeking to separate.
On Sundays I am leading some friends through a reading of 1 Peter. This past Sunday we looked at this bit: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
That is hard to live. I think for me to help move past the separating and the dualism that is inherent in our current cultural paradigm I am going to have to do some real work on “be like-minded,” which means to see the world as another sees the world.
The Christ who has reconciled the universe is calling us to follow where he leads. Are you separating folks into “us” and “them” or you inviting folks in to be part of the “we”?