Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To Gather Up All Things

With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:8b-10).

I can hear Christ say, “Come on, we must be going,” as he “gathers” his “things.” But I don’t think it’s a “we’re outta here!” sort of gathering as much as a “we’re not done” sort of gathering. It’s Christ journeying along the road and taking each outstretched hand to guide it—“gather” it—into his company and his journey.

But it’s so much more, for God’s mysterious will is to “gather up all things in him.” Christ is reaching out to all people and all creation—indeed, “all things…in heaven and on earth.”

We in his company should be gathering as we are gathered, taking hold of outstretched hands, bringing all within our reach into the Father’s mysterious will and good pleasure. His will and pleasure are redemption and forgiveness (v. 7), an inheritance as God’s people marked by the Holy Spirit (11-14), and participation in the church, the body of him who reigns above all and who is the fullness of all in all (22-3). This is an invitation to the profoundest of mysteries and most beautiful of promises.

Yet it’s such a simple image—gathering. This is the Lord of all taking what is rightfully and passionately his, collecting it to his own keeping, holding it to his heart. See him standing before you—before us—outstretched, nail-scarred hands, speaking the loving words of gathering: “Come, children, we must be going. We’re not done yet.”

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