Text: Colossians 1:15-20

Sunday January 23, 2022-Epiphany 3

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our text for this 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany is the Epistle lesson from Colossians Chapter 1 that was just proclaimed.

Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit working through your unchanging Word of Truth to remind us even though we do not always see or understand how, you will provide in every situation according to your good and gracious will Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

Some of us struggle trying to be “all things” to all people. Some of us are anxious looking at all the things on our “to-do” list at work or in the home. Some of us are often disappointed with all the things we expect of ourselves or others.

Our wonderful staff here at Trinity considers all the things that go into teaching a class, facilitating a variety of activities or administering a ministry.

The congregation and preschool board considers all the things including finances, staff, facilities and more that go into supporting an excellent Lutheran school ministry.

“All things” by itself is overwhelming, frustrating and humbling. “All things” is a constant reminder of our sinful nature and the sinful world.

The National Lutheran Schools Week theme, “In All Things,” takes us to the theme text of Colossians 1:15–20 and the Good News that Christ is “In All Things.” Five times in these six verses, the Apostle Paul references Christ “In All Things.”

Christ Jesus is the Creator of all things; He is before all things; He holds together all things; He reconciles all things to Himself. Scripture begins with the creation of all things.

In our text, Paul also begins, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” The eternal, triune God is the creator of all.

Christ’s participation in creation is described by the Apostle John, “In the beginning was the Word … All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (JOHN 1:1, 3).

While our Small Catechism explanations of the articles of the Apostles Creed divide the divine workings of the Father (creation), Son (redemption) and Holy Spirit (sanctification), the Holy Trinity works together in all things.

Christ is also our Creator. Adam and Eve, created in the image of God, are challenged by the serpent, “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (GEN. 3:5). Satan suggested that they could be and do all things without their Creator.

Succumbing to the temptation, the crown of creation(man) was separated from the Creator. Paul’s introduction to Christ in all things states the reality of the “domain of darkness” (COL. 1:13). The fall brought Adam and Eve and their descendants to the darkness of broken relationships, physical pains and “thorns and thistles” outside of the perfect garden.

Sin affects all things. Most of all it affects man’s relationship with God. Instead of being like God, Adam, Eve and all of us hide in fear from God and want to be our own god

The Christ of all things in creation chose to reconcile His creation to Himself through Himself. Paul notes the means of reconciliation, “making peace by the blood of his cross” (COL. 1:20). Situations of conflict are sometimes addressed with the assistance of a “reconciler.”

Whether the distanced parties are spouses, business entities or sometimes even ministry professionals, a reconciler brings the parties together to examine the issues and to map a journey to reconciliation.

In Christ, God and mankind are brought together. As sinners, we have nothing to offer for resolution. Christ offers the only solution possible, Himself.

The setting for resolution is Good Friday and the cross. Christ sheds His blood as the perfect and complete sacrifice for sin. All hostility has been removed between God and mankind. The reconciliation is gifted to each of us through the Means of Grace.

The little child is reconciled to God at the baptismal font. The word of reconciliation is announced in the absolution: “As a called and ordained servant of the Word and by Christ’s command, I forgive you all your sins.” The communicant leaves the Lord’s Table where the body and blood of the cross are received, and the communicant is blessed to “depart in peace.”

A staple of every early childhood and early elementary child’s supply list is the school glue. The drops of glue miraculously hold together craft projects and other items.

The Means of Grace are the glue of the church. They hold together God’s people. They hold together what happens in our church and school.

Lutheran schools are places where the reconciliation through Christ is taught, lived and shared. The response to the preschool playground disagreement is more than “Say you are sorry.” The discussion includes, “Jesus forgives you and so do I.”

The disagreement between parents and teacher is resolved in light of the mutual desire to bring Christ to the child.

Competition between church and school for resources is more than a stewardship conversation, becoming an opportunity to refocus the mission of the church. The focus is on Christ who continues to bring peace to His church and to unite the church in reaching out energetically and faithfully.

It is easy to get distracted in our individual and family life. We compartmentalize our lives. Christ is present in our family devotions, but we’d rather not have Him hear the disrespectful words to the spouse or to parents.

Christ is the center of the Bible class conversation, but we’d rather not have Him hear the gossip in the office. Christ is worshiped with our words in the sanctuary on Sunday morning, but our words in the Saturday evening social setting do not honor Him.

Christ has forgiven all things. By virtue of our Baptism, Christ is present in us in all things and all places. Our prayer is that of the Apostle Paul that “in everything he might be preeminent.”

Christ may also be compartmentalized in the church. Christ “In All Things” affirms the message of the Divine Service. He is also the focus in the Sunday school classroom, conversations in the church and school office, the youth group gathering, the quilting group, the committee meeting and all things that take place during the week.

Christ is “In All Things” in Lutheran schools. Christ is the topic of the preschool “Jesus time” and the junior high confirmation class. Christ is worshiped at school “chapel time” and at the baptismal assembly of the school family asking to have their child baptized into God’s family.

Christ is in all the lesson. Christ is on the stage and in the gym. Christ is at the parent group and faculty meeting. “Christ” is the confession of Lutheran schools.

Christ alone is our Master. Christ is the basis of our commitment to Lutheran schools. It is important to always reevaluate, “Why do we do what we do?” “Why do we invest in a Lutheran school ministry as parents or as a congregation?” “Why does a staff member serve in a Lutheran school when other opportunities might be more attractive?”

The response is “because Christ is here!” Christ is the focus of Trinity Lutheran Church and Pre School!. Our contemporary context is sometimes referred to as a “post-Christian” era. Christianity is no longer the basis of morality and other aspects of our culture.

The mission of our church and school is so important because the world needs Christ. Our community needs Christ. Our children and families need Christ. Our school provides the opportunity to bring Christ to those who do not know Him and to nurture in Christ those blessed to be in His church.

Every school day, the mission field drives onto our church and school parking lots. Increasingly, children and families first hear of Christ in our schools. We praise God for that opportunity as we respond to His commission creatively and energetically.

No, without Jesus, we cannot be all things to all people. All the things on our list will not be accomplished. However, Christ has chosen to be “In All Things” and that is what makes both our church and school eternally significant. Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.