Jesus: Our Source
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. Colossians 1:11-20
In many churches, today is considered the last Sunday of the year, next Sunday being the first Sunday of Advent of a new year. Also in many churches this Sunday is called Christ the King Sunday, and we remember the mocking term used to describe Jesus: the King of the Jews. Jesus was not the kingly messiah that the world thought was coming. No, he was born into abject poverty, in a barn and laid in a feeding trough.
As Diana Butler Bass says, "The word “king” is too problematic. It is wedded to social privilege and pyramids of wealth and power and invested with centuries of inequities and fairy tale fantasies." But the Colossians reading for today gives a clearer image of Jesus...one that places him as the Source, the head, the first. Not unlike the headwaters of a river.
I live on the St. Johns river which is over 300 miles long, flows north and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The narrowest point of the river is in the headwaters, an unnavigable marsh in Indian River County. And yet, out of that marshy spring flows enough water to go north for 310 miles through 12 counties and out into the great Atlantic Ocean.
Jesus is like our headwaters...out of a network of swamps and marshes, caught in the crosshairs of kingdom rivalries, a third world of military dictatorship, he was born, the Source, shifting power away from a top down hierarchy of dominion to instead, like the St. Johns, a kingdom that flowed north against gravity and led us out into the the great Creation.
As our psalm says today,
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, * the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be overthrown; * God shall help her at the break of day.
Let us end this year knowing with conviction that we are the streams of the Source of God, God is in the midst of us, we will not be overthrown, and God will help us at the break of day.
Flow north, my friends, like the mighty St. Johns, even when it seems to be against gravity!
Blue Cypress Lake - Headwaters of the St. Johns River
Mayport - where the St. Johns River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.