Thursday, September 05, 2013

In Him All Things Hold Together

By Melanie Rigney

(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Know that the Lord is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. (Psalms 100:3)

(N)o one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (Luke 5:37-39)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…
(Opening lines to William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”)

It’s ironic that in “The Second Coming,” Yeats, who considered himself more mystic than Christian (and no fan of Catholicism specifically), used images from the Book of Revelation as metaphor for post-World War I Europe. Things were falling apart, certainly, in 1919 as Yeats wrote the poem: Germany came out of the Treaty of Versailles weakened, some thought permanently. The former tsar of Russia and his entire family had been executed. The once-powerful Austria-Hungary monarchy was no more. The Irish Republic had asserted its independence from the United Kingdom.

The center did not hold; Europe would look far different in twenty years, still different in thirty years, and more different still today.

In the same way, we all change, physically, mentally, emotionally, all the time. Relationships begin and end. People are born and people die. We grow in wisdom or through illness lose our ability to reason or remember. We temper our hard-line opinions based on our life experiences… or perhaps become more intractable as a result.

One center will hold. One thing will not fall apart, try as the world might. Paul puts it this way in Colossians: (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. ... He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

May we give thanks and praise for that gift, and take comfort in it.

Where are things falling apart in your life? Maybe it’s something big, such as an illness, or a minor annoyance, such as traffic gridlock. Close your eyes, breathe, and refocus.

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