Colossians 1:16-20 - By Him [Jesus] all things were created ... all things were created through Him and for Him. And 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, the Firstborn from the dead, so that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
"All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir," said a once-popular children's song, "some sing low, some sing higher. Some sing out loud on a telephone wire. Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got now." The song reflects the truth in our reading—that all creation in all its variety, with every distinct creature, each one of them, endowed with unique individuality, yet also united in a common origin with a common purpose—every one created to sing glory to the One who created them. And if all creation is a choir, Colossians 1 would have us see Jesus as our Creator, our Savior, and our Director.
Part of following Jesus means losing faith in every merely human director. Others try to direct us. But when some mere creature tries to take the burden of directing all the other creatures, this typically turns them into a tyrant, into another Napoleon. It's no accident that the tyrant in George Orwell's book, Animal Farm, is a pig named Napoleon. In the story, the pigs, led by Napoleon, direct a revolution. Then they create new rules for a new harmony on the farm. Their greatest commandment is "All Animals Are Equal." But their harmony quickly turns to discord. Napoleon and his pigs decide that their special burden of directing the masses warrants special privileges, which includes consuming all of the cows' milk and all of the farm's apples. Napoleon directs his spokes-pig to explain this to the others, "We pigs are brainworkers," he says. "Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink milk and eat those apples." Then Napoleon composes an amendment to the greatest commandment: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Orwell's cynical parable about human nature and human society reminds us how quickly the oppressed become the oppressor and how the line between human and pig is sometimes blurred. It helps us lose faith in merely human directors. So, we turn, not to cynicism, but to Jesus. Read and listen to His biographies in the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus is no Napoleon. He says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you [take My direction upon you] and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, because My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus came, not to make slaves. And He didn't come to make cynics, either. He came to give His life as a ransom, the Creator for the sake of His creatures, the Director for His choir, the Son and the Spirit of the Father, for the sake of His children. Jesus came, one for all, so that all may be one (see John 17:20-23).
WE PRAY: Dear Father, thank You for a place in Your choir, through the Spirit of Jesus, Your Son, our Lord and our Director. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. The motto "e pluribus unum" means "from many—one." When have you experienced unity with a group of distinct individuals?
2. Colossians 1 repeats the phrase "all things" several times. How does that help you understand the meaning of the passage? Read Colossians 1:15-20 and John 17:20-23. How do these words protect you?
3. What are you in danger of becoming—a tyrant, a slave, or a cynic? Why?
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