And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1: 17


Just to be clear, Paul is talking about Christ here. Paul wants us to understand the authority that we, as followers of Christ, live under. He also is discussing essential truth that we need in order to grasp the way that our entire world operates. Although Christians voluntarily align ourselves with God’s authority and rule and so are subject to it, all of creation is, in fact, subject to this same authority. It just doesn’t always accept this truth, and it often fights against the very rule that is the deep underlying natural law that brings about its only hope for real peace.


Even as believers in Christ, we don’t always do such great jobs of following His will. People tend to be very stubborn and willful. We struggle greatly with giving up our perception of control to anyone. This becomes more pronounced as God searches our deepest parts and we begin to feel the tension that often exists between the Lord’s way of living and the one that we are comfortable with following. Yet Christ is here before us and before any of our ancestors. His righteousness is our actual strength. His grace is the only real freedom. The love that Christ brings in the name of the Father is creation’s singular hope for peace and for reconciliation of that which has been broken apart.


Christ grants to His people an extraordinary opportunity to enter into the peace that He brings. He also leads us into being agents of reconciliation. The world around s is filled with turmoil. Nations and nature are aflame. There are many days when it would seem that violence is humanity’s natural order and that anger is our preferred form of discourse. In the face of all of this Christ says that there is another way. There is a greater truth. Our Lord wants to lead us into that which is before all of this disruption and destructive behavior. Christ calls upon us to repent of our sinful ways and enter into His righteousness. He implores us to accept His grace and to give it to everyone around us, and Christ leads us along the path of sacrificial love that brings the distanced ones home and that can reconcile even the most shattered of relationships.


And He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together.

Colossians 1: 17


Christians often take a great deal of comfort out of this verse. In it we see the fact that God, the Creator, designed our world in a manner that allows it to work, and Christ is still working to this moment in holding the whole thing together. Without His continual engagement our world would collapse and spin out of control in a riot of chaos and calamity. I think that this is a true and accurate reading of the meaning here.


Yet, I also think that there is more. This entire section of Colossians is about Christ. In it Paul discusses the fact that Jesus is involved totally with all aspects of creation and that all of creation was made for Jesus. That all includes us in both ways, for Christ made us, and we have been made to glorify Him. We can take comfort and place absolute trust in the fact that our Lord is loving and just with His creation and with His creatures. When we consider the way that Christ holds it all together, that is the world that is under our feet and the heavens above us; it seems that we have to include ourselves and the lives that we live in that thought.


As people we tend to believe that we have to work hard to keep everything going. So, we believe that if we take our hands off of the steering wheel of life for even a moment the results will be disastrous. This is simply not true. In fact, we are far more likely to be the ones who drive off of the cliff or into the wall than Christ is going to do. I think that Paul is telling us that we can trust the Creator to do what is best for and with us. We are freed from that burden of control, and we are set free to serve Christ out of grace of our redeemed state and status. The Lord is holding my life and yours together, and there is no better care possible.