Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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All About Relationship

Reading: Colossians 1: 15-28

Verses 17-18: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church”.

Our writing from Paul today first centers on Christ’s supremacy. Before the beginning of time, before the light was separated from the darkness, Jesus was there. By Christ and for him all things were created in heaven and on earth. Paul describes Jesus’ incarnation this way: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation”. Jesus is the embodiment of God – his love, his mercy, his grace, his compassion, his empathy, his forgiveness, his generosity… No one has ever seen the “physical” God, but through Christ we see God’s spirit and character.

In verses 17-18 Paul writes, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church”. This reiterates Jesus’ eternal nature and also speaks of his unifying nature. The natural order leads all things towards death. In isolated systems, the natural movement is from order to disorder. In the church, though, Christ holds all things together. He not only holds things together but also seeks to build up the church. As the head of the body, the church, Jesus is ever at work to bring people of faith closer together and into deeper relationship, both with himself and with each other. This work is best revealed when one studies Jesus’ ministry.

The Jesus of the Gospels was all about relationship. Whether with the disciples or the prostitute or the woman caught in adultery or the Pharisees or the tax collector or the thief on the cross or… Jesus was concerned with knowing the other and being known by the other. Whether in conversation or teaching or healing, he sought to deepen their faith and/or to strengthen their connection to God and each other. For example, sometimes a healing restored the other to their family and community. Sometimes it began or bolstered their faith. Often the healing did both things.

In verses 19-20 we read, “God was pleased… through him to reconcile to himself all things”. In and through Jesus, God desires to bring all people to himself. It is a love for all nations, peoples, and tribes. It is a love that led Jesus to die on the cross, to defeat the power of sin – the thing that separates us from God. With that barrier removed, we are able to live in a loving relationship with the Lord our God. The head, the firstborn from the dead, gave himself for us. What a love. Thanks be to God.

Prayer: God, Jesus’ love amazes me. It is a love without bounds, without limit. When I consider your love revealed through Jesus Christ, I am humbled. My capacity and ability to love falls so short of his example. Help me to love more like Jesus. Amen.

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His Kingdom

The first must be last.  To be first you must become a servant.  These words of Jesus run so counter to the view of the world.  In the world, power is seen as the one on top with the most money or the loftiest title or the best looks.  Jesus says that when we welcome those at the bottom of society and get to know them, then we also come to know Him better.  In the world’s view, those beneath are just stepping stones.

For Jesus, welcoming in and getting to know those who are struggling breaks down the barriers that often separate us.  In forming relationships we remove our misconceptions.  In loving other we help them to see their worth and identity as a child of God.  But it is not all one-sided.  In doing these things, our love for God and our love for neighbor grows as well.  We too are changed.

It is in these moments and through these experiences with the discounted, marginalized, and invisible that we ourselves come to catch a glimpse of God’s kingdom.  It is here we begin to see and know what Jesus meant when He said the first must be last.  In this kingdom we place other’s needs ahead of our own.  It is here that we see being a servant to those in need as a blessing to us as well as to them.  In this kingdom we learn that all are servants.

This life-transforming love of God is powerful.  It can forever change lives.  This day, this week, this life – may we be moved to be builders of His kingdom.  May we bring His light and love to all who are lost and in need.  May we be forever changed.

Scripture reference: Mark 9: 33-37