Christ, the Shalom of Our Words

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Colossians 1:15-20: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 3:15-17: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We exist in between-time, between the creation and corruption of the universe and the eventual restoration of all things.  That which had begun suitable, harmonious, and integrated will again be so.  We should bear in mind the expansive borders of this.  Christ's great work of restoration is not just for the deliverance of individuals but for the renewal of all things.  It is comprehensive.  Every area of life is Christ's and will finally succeed in its purpose only in Christ.   His peace, his shalom, will bring us again to all the universe was intended to be.

We who exist in this between-time must orient all our lives towards that future promise.  All things in our work and play must again be suitable, harmonious, and integrated.  The goal is lofty -- the complete sanctification of our minds, words, deeds, and communities.  We cannot do this alone; rather, we are to work out the craft of our language within that divine fellowship, which he has chosen to model the vivid life that God will return to his world.  The Church, the People of God, are to overflow with these pleasant, enriching, loving words, and in speaking and singing, we enact Christ's shalom.  Tragically, we too often fall short of this state, but when we do live up to it, we experience a foretaste of what a restored creation will be in full.  For us, the task of making our words true, good, and beautiful is an act of faith and hope that God will make all things new.

"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding