Lent 11: Starting point...

Colossians 1:15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Thus far in my seminary career, I've taken Christology & Theological Anthropology, The Pastoral Epistles, an introductory New Testament course, History of Christian Thought & Practice, and currently Pneumatology (Holy Spirit), Ecclesiology (Church), and Eschatology (Last Things), not to mention a course on Revelation. Between all of these courses, the amount of time spent discussing the nature, character, and work of Jesus is mind-boggling. Often times it's been frustrating because it feels as if we're just rehashing age-old arguments and questions. Sometimes I wish I could just start over from scratch.

If I were to do this, at least according to the author of Colossians (some say Paul, some say otherwise), I would still have to start with Christ, both the incarnated Jesus and the eternal Logos. No matter what, Jesus is the firstborn, the Creator. Jesus is the glue that keeps everything together. For the church, Jesus is at the top of the pyramid, the pinnacle. Furthermore, here we read that in Christ, God's fullness dwelt. Everything that God is, Jesus is.

The word reconciliation keeps popping up in my life. Reconciling with my family. Reconciling with old friends. Reconciling with those who have wronged me. Reconciling with myself. Most importantly, reconciling with God, the one who I believe to be more distant than present, more cruel and vengeful than loving and merciful. Figuring out who God is takes more than a lifetime, but in Jesus—or at least in the narratives presented to me in the Gospels—I'm able to get a glimpse of God by encountering God incarnated in Christ. Granted, there are more 2,000 years between me and him. Yet so often in our faith communities we're told that he's right here.

I get the feeling that, even if I were to start over, I wouldn't have to go very far to do so. I could do so from where I'm at right now, sitting on the couch, propped up against a pillow that desperately needs to be re-fluffed. I could start over with all my questions, all my doubts and uncertainties, all my insecurities. I could start over with my anger and pain, my bitterness and cynicism. These are all things I think God in all God's fullness made manifest in Christ can handle. Dare I use the platitude, "God is bigger." Maybe it's true. If Jesus is the source of all things and the holder-together of all things, then starting over starts with a simple "Hello," the kind we see in far too many romantic comedies (i.e. You've Got Mail and Friends with Benefits). Starting over simply requires being right where I am and trusting, acknowledging, or believing that God is present here with me.

What do you think? Do you have a reason to want to start over? If so, you're in good company.