Colossians 1:12-18; Luke 17:12-19
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!

We have, in our Epistle reading from St. Paul to the Colossian Church, a passage that’s very theologically dense. We’re going to look at what he says in a moment, but I want us to first remember that in the Church, we don’t have theology for theology’s sake; we don’t have purely academic or intellectual theology – we have a theology based on the life of Christ and the Saints’ experience of the living God. Our theology matters, it affects the way we live because it reveals reality– so this morning’s reading from St. Paul informs not only our intellect but also our praxis, it should affect the way we live on a daily basis.

So to the passage – St. Paul begins this passage by giving thanks to the Father – the Father is the fountain of the godhead, so all praise begins with Him. There are the three things that St. Paul gives thanks to the Father for: He has enabled us to join the choir of the Saints, He has delivered us from bondage to sin, and He has made us inheritors of the kingdom of His Son. These all are summed up by simply saying that St. Paul is giving thanks for the Son; he’s giving thanks for Christ. This is a position that we always find ourselves in, giving thanks to the Father for the source of our salvation (Christ).

Then the majority of this passage St. Paul uses in praising Christ for Who He Is.
He is the image of the invisible God – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, sharing one energy, one action, and one will. Christ says that if we have seen Him then we have seen the Father. The icon of Christ we see is the face of God in flesh.
He is the firstborn of all creation – the Fathers often say that Christ is the first Adam. He existed with the Father before all time, yet His incarnation is known in the mind of the Father before the foundations of the world are laid. The image of God that we’re created in is the image of the incarnate Godman Christ.
All things were created through Him, by Him, and for Him, and in Him all things have their being – Genesis tells us that God created and St. Paul further informs that it was Christ who created. All was created for Him and in Him all things have their being, He continues to keep in existence all things that continue to exist.
He is the head of the Church – our Church is led not by a book or a person or a set of rules, we’re headed by Christ. He is our head, leading us always toward Himself.
He is the first-born of the dead, thereby being first in all things – Christ is the first born of the creation and the first to rise from the dead (permanately), so as God He has preceeded us in all things. He has been all the places we’ll ever go. We’re comforted with this knowledge as we pray to God in our various troubles that He understands exactly what we’re experiencing both as God and as man.

Knowing, intellectually today, all these things about our Saviour, our striving is to know these things in our hearts, and to live in a way that demonstrates these truths.

Our major struggle in life is with pride – all of our sins begin with our self-determining will. And we really think that our will and our desires and our thoughts are important because their ours, we want for ourselves. But when we’re faced with this cosmic reality of Christ, we’re convicted that our lives are to be Christ-centered. Our thoughts, our will, our whatever is insignificant in the light of Christ. He is our everything as St. Paul reminds us this morning. He is the Author of all Creation and the Giver of Salvation to man. So let us join with this St. Paul not only today but every day, praising the Father for the gift of His Only-begotten Son, and for all that’s been done to allow us to know Him and to share in His salvation.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!