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Friday, April 15, 2016
Today’s Reading | Colossians 1:15–20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (NRSV)
Prepositions are my favorite part of speech. This may be because, as a freshman in high school, I had to memorize a long list of them. It may be because knowing that list served me very well in teaching hundreds of other high school freshmen many years later. It may be because prepositions are short, humble little words that do a world of work: they show the relationship of nouns and pronouns to other nouns and pronouns.
There are nineteen propositions in these six verses: “image of the invisible God,” “in him all fullness was pleased to dwell,” “make peace by the blood of his cross,” “all thing were revealed through him and for him.” You get the idea.
It’s fun to hold Jesus and prepositions together mentally. A preposition almost always precedes the word it’s helping us to place conceptually. Paul, most likely quoting a hymn in use in the early church, reminds us that Jesus is the “firstborn” both of creation and the dead. He is the “beginning” and “preeminent.” He has gone before us to show the way and gives us courage when that way is daunting. In establishing the associations between a sentence’s words, prepositions help us make meaning. Jesus, in the model of his words and actions and through his Spirit, orients us to what is most important: life with God and each other. We can come to find our place, realize our role, when we join the rest of the church in work and worship and contemplation of the divine plan.
Jesus, center of all that is, it is only in, with, through, by, and for you that our being makes sense. Help us to use the grammar of our lives to proclaim your truth clearly. Amen.
Written by Susan Quaintance, Program Coordinator, Center for Life and Learning
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