“For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ”
Candle Lighter: “The invisible God…”
Response: “…has become visible!”
Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Reader: These are the very words of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
As we enter this season, our hearts are tuned during these early days of Advent toward the end of time and the return of the Lord, coming in judgment bringing the consummation of history and establishing His eternal kingdom. We live in a world that gives little thought to the end of life, let alone the end of time. In this most remarkable passage in Paul’s little letter to the people of Colossae, we have an explanation, a creed, if you will, (this may actually have been one of the creeds of the early church), of the role of Jesus in creation, in redemption, in the church. All things have their meaning in Christ! Jesus is the visible image, the icon, of our invisible God. This “visible image” is far more profound than we might imagine. Jesus is such a full and exact picture of God, that He is actually the exact representation of God in human flesh. His words: “He who has seen me, has seen the Father.” (Jn.14:9) In Christ, He humbled Himself in taking the human form to enable humanity to relate on a personal level to the eternal God! Think about it! There is no god in any religion that has done anything like this. Do you realize how many monumental questions are answered in these very few verses? God is intent on communicating to people in ways they can begin to understand. Look again at all the words I have emboldened. The most significant questions humans can ask are all answered in these verses! For example: Has God always existed? Who made the universe? What about angels and other powers; who made them? How do we solve the sin problem, or problem of evil in this world? What’s the purpose of life? Where did the Church come from? What is the Church? Are there worlds or powers beyond what we can see here on earth? Does God care about us? How does He relate to us? What keeps the universe from falling apart? What does God look like? And those questions barely scratch the surface! As we journey through Advent, let us be ever mindful that we are not simply rehearsing facts about our awe-inspiring God, but that we are in communion with the one who “made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.” Take some time now and express your heart to Him.
Music: “What Child Is This?” Cambridge Singers arr. John Rutter
“O God, you have given us the sure promise that Jesus will return to judge the earth. Make us ready, we pray, for his royal coming, that we may consider daily what sort of people we ought to be, and be found faithful servants waiting and working for our Master’s return. Grant in your mercy that many may be won for him before he comes, and make us bold in our witness until that day, whether he comes at midnight, or at dawn, or in the daytime. For his name’s sake. Amen.”
— The Worship Sourcebook, p.431
© 2018 Dan Sharp – All rights reserved