Christ Lutheran Church
July 17, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
The Fullness Of God
He is the icon of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation! Since in him all things were created in heaven and on earth visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and to him. And he is before all things, and in him all things are held together.
He is the head of his body the church. He is the beginning. The firstborn from among the dead! That in all things he should be preeminent. For in him the FULLNESS OF GOD was pleased to dwell. And through him to reconcile all things unto himself whether things earthly or heavenly making peace through the blood of his cross.
And you who were once alienated and hostile in your minds, engaged in evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body by his death to present you holy and unblemished and blameless before him; if indeed you remain firm and steadfast in the faith, and are unmovable from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been announced in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col 1:15-22 DKV)
Humanity is running on fumes! Not because it is about to be swept away by a climatological disaster. But because it is cut off from the source of its life!
Carbon footprints will not destroy us, but sin will!
When you bring a Christmas tree home and put it in water it laps up water at a furious rate. The poor tree doesn’t know that it is dead! Then after a while its appetite wanes, it dries up and its needles begin to fall leaving it bare and naked.
We are that tree!
But it is not only humanity, but all of creation as well. “All things visible and invisible” running on fumes; and today we might even say on the fumes of fumes! And thus will we continue until Christ returns to restore all things and make them new.
He who is the Firstborn of the New Creation. Who is the head of his Body, the church, and who fills all things with the fullness of God! Truly! “Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.”
For you see apart from the Cross all humanity and all creation as well is devoid of meaning, purpose and fulfillment; and what a hopeless state that is!
With recent pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope the knowledge base of man has taken an exponential leap. We knew the universe was vast before. But now what we previously knew is chump change compared to the images sent to earth by the JWST. And yet in all the explanations given to the world by the experts there is not a single recognition, or even a breath about God the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth.
Staring into the undeniable proof of the majesty of God man stands dumb! Blinded by, “The god of this world who has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:4)
He is no more able to twig what is before him than a fruit fly landing on the screen of your iPhone grasps what he has just happened upon.
We are that fly.
And so we remain unfulfilled. Empty, blind, deaf, dead and lifeless. Like an EV without a charge. A gun out of bullets. A pizzeria out of pepperoni … only of course drastically more serious than all of the above.
But take heart! Because even an empty glass is still a glass. And an empty person is still made as the icon of God. Created to look like God be like God and formed into a shape to be filled with God! So that we need never sit empty and idle again.
And here let us take a moment to remember that the human form is not the product of a long evolutionary process; but rather when God formed man he was like a sculptor with one eye on his Son the other on Adam his creation.
Thus! When God comes to earth to redeem us he doesn’t come as a spirit, a cloud, a flame or a photograph but rather as “the Word made flesh dwelling among us!” He who “was made man” in whom the FULLNESS of the Godhead dwells bodily. (Col. 2:9)
Our emptiness is evident! We are not self-sustaining but constantly taking things in so that we might live! A rock is self-sustaining. It needs nothing. But we do!
As if to prove our outward dependence take note of all that we must import! How much food, water and countless other elements we take into our bodies over a life time to remain alive.
But it does not stop there!
We must also import knowledge, information, truth as well as goodness and beauty if we are to have it at all.
But also wisdom and discernment so that we might put all the pieces together and use things profitably to survive, and even thrive. Yes thrive! if only we can find the missing ingredient that nourishes and flourishes; so that like the woman at the well we will never thirst again. (John 4:15)
What she wanted! What Abraham and Mary wanted but Sarah and Martha did not was Jesus who is the FULLNESS OF GOD! He who says: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
But how does this all happen?
If we properly understand the so called “Letter to the Colossians” the answer will become clear. This is no ordinary letter. Paul did not write it to be friendly, or to provide a general essay on Christian Dogma – though it is full of Holy Dogma! But what we have before us today is a baptismal address to the new converts in the city of Colossae.
In this precious baptismal rite the Apostle teaches these new Christians (and old ones too) what we were before baptism; before Christ; and what we are now that Christ, the hope of glory, is in us!
He nicely summarizes the “before and after” in Chapter Three of this baptismal address when he writes:
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Col. 3:5-10)
But baptism is not the end of Christian life dear Christians: but only the beginning. For we are baptized INTO something, and that something the “Body of Christ.” But please be sure to know that by “Body of Christ” we do not mean the organization, membership roll or the body politic.
But rather we are objectively – if mystically – incorporated into the Flesh of Christ. And that incorporation is not a formless metaphor but a transformation that happens in divine liturgy. This divine liturgy which is FULL OF CHRIST, THUS FULL OF GOD! And what is the summit of liturgy except “this Bread and this Cup” which upon consecration are full of Jesus: his Flesh and Blood.
This is what we receive here Oh Baptized Believers! The Fullness of Eucharist, which is the Fullness of Christ, which is the Fullness of God; so that we will never be empty again!
“Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more!” (Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer)