We know someone who loves building model train sets. He has a whole room in his basement devoted to this hobby. He has created an elaborate little world in there. The track winds around hills, over and under bridges, through tunnels, and around farms and little communities. It divides and reconnects, with controls to keep the various trains from crashing into each other. He has filled up the entire room with this world he has created. In fact, one room can’t contain his creativity. The track escapes out of a circular hole in the wall, runs through the games room next door, and re-enters through another hole, in another wall.
The system works. It has an on/off switch, and the trains go all over, disappearing, re-emerging, never crashing… It’s fascinating!
By exploring this room, and watching the trains in action, we got to know our friend better. We saw how his mind works and what brings him delight.
Take a moment to visualize what you know about the universe, its complexity and immensity. Bring to your mind the images you've seen of our solar system, galaxies, and beyond…. the beauty, symmetry, mystery. The sun keeps converting its hydrogen into helium, keeping us warm from a distance of 93 million miles. I just read this on space.com: “Each second the sun converts 700,000,000 tons of the element hydrogen into 695,000,000 tons of the element helium” through nuclear fusion.
We feel its effects profoundly and we’re so glad it keeps burning (although, it’s not really burning, because no oxygen is required. It’s actually nuclear fusion-ing) … day after day, keeping us warm, growing our gardens, giving us light in the right spectrum so we can see all the beautiful colors around us.
The universe is elaborate, intricate, extravagant. By looking at it, we see a picture of what God is like, how his mind works, and what gives him delight.
But there’s more: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything…” (v. 15-16).
The universe, as God’s creative project, reveals much of what God is like. Jesus, who is God living and interacting with us, reveals even more. Jesus himself is what God is like. He is God’s visual aid to us, so we can get to know God.
And there’s more! Verse 18 has an innocuous little ‘also’ kind of hidden in it: “Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body” (v. 18). The Tree of Life Version says “He is the head of the body, his community.” Here again, God delights to do something superlative through his Son, “whom he loves.”
So Christ is pre-eminent over creation, which reveals God’s amazing creativity and power. And now also we can see that Christ is head of the church, his body, his community. God is creating something amazing and beautiful here, too. This is that ‘kingdom of the Son he loves’ spoken of in 1:13-14.
What’s involved? We need rescue from our darkness and death, we need resurrection (v.18) and we need reconciliation to God and to each other (v.21). Through Jesus, these are provided.
This is the creative project that God is working on now. He is rescuing people and building them into his loving community. The care, wisdom, loving attention to detail, and power that we see when we consider the universe — all of these (and more!) God is pouring into this project.
He delights in this. It gives him joy. He has eternal purposes for this project. It's IMPORTANT to him, and he's not going to give up! Though ‘heaven and earth will pass away,’ this loving community that God is creating, through Jesus, will not. He wants us with him forever.