The New Testament reading for Sunday, Nov. 24, is Colossians 1:11-20.
The writer gives such a full “listing” of the attributes and actions of Christ. He is rescuer, redeemer, forgiver, creator, firstborn from among the dead, reconciler, head of the church.
As with the Gospel of John, Colossians attributes creation to the Son. Doesn’t this make God irrelevant? Creation and salvation both are through Christ. So do we need God? Why does the early church feel the need for an intermediary to God?
I personally have never felt the need for an intermediary to God, either Christ or angels, saints, Mother Mary, etc. But some folks obviously do, and that’s okay. I don’t assume my form of relating to God is better than anyone else’s. Still, I am puzzled by the theology of separation.
The most obvious reason for Christ as intermediary, I think, is that God can seem so distant, so transcendent, especially when we believed in literal heavens. Jesus, the Christ, is not way out there. He’s right there, one of us.
There’s an old preacher story about a child drawing a picture. “Who is that?” she was asked, “God,” she replied. “But nobody knows what God looks like,” she was told. “They will now,” she retorted.
Christians say that Jesus, the Christ, is the picture of God.
More important than Christ as immanence, closeness, outward picture, I think, is that in Jesus, God is incarnate, in the flesh. Not just face, but guts. And brain.
We should not be surprised by brain research that shows there are “religious” parts of the brain. EVERYTHING in the world is material. There is always a material form for every spiritual reality, just as there is the material Christ as the form of the spiritual God.
Interestingly, people who point out that religion is “just” the stimulation of a particular part of the brain ignore the fact that skepticism is just the stimulation of a different part of the brain,
I think if Colossians were written today, the writer would also say: Christ is not just the face of God but the guts of God. Not just the mind of God, but the brain of God.
John Robert McFarland