15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for 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. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He 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. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and 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 (Colossians 1:15-20)
When I was young, I always had the impression that it was wrong to have favourite parts of the Bible. After all, “it is all God’s Word”, I was told! Well, I do have my favourite passages and Colossians 1:15-20 is one of them. The poem says three ‘things’ about the ‘all things’ of the universe- that is, all of creation. They were created by Christ (v16). They are held together in Christ (v17). They have been reconciled in Christ (v20). Two points:
- We are connected to Christ and connected to all creation. ‘All things’ hold together in the Lord Christ (v17). In fact, they were created in him (v16). In him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). This connection of all things in the life of God is what Jurgen Moltmann terms “the community of creation”. The problem is that we, in the modern Western world, have forgotten this community. The results are, and will be, devastating for other creatures, plants, etc and for humans too- sadly, the poorest and the weakest the most. The concept of Harris’ Teulu Trefeca is attractive as a symbolic picture of humans, God and the land living in harmonious connection. Are there ways we can, in our twenty-first century individual and church lives, as well as in the life and work of Trefeca, re-establish this beautiful connection of all things in Christ?
- We are called as followers of Christ to reconcile creation in Christ. Paul’s good news is ‘big’ in its scope. It encompasses all things. Christ has achieved a peace, a reconciliation that covers all of creation (v20). How is this reconciliation to be achieved? Well, he is the head of the body, the church (v18). A church that has been called to this ‘ministry of reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5). We are ministering in the context of ‘climate emergency’. This ministry of reconciliation is good news to a broken-up creation. We have a responsibility to create relationships where human and non-human life flourishes in joyful interdependence in the life of God. How can we preach this gospel in word and deed in our homes, our communities, and in our churches? Could Trefeca play some role in such a mission? Maybe, like Howel Harris’ cropping methods, we can find new innovative ways to fulfil such a ministry.