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God with us: the resurrection sets us free for perfect service.

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.

--Colossians 1:18-20

There is so much joy in the Raster message of new life and renewed hope! The darker, more contemplative days of the Lenten season make way for the journey into wholeness which only an empty tomb and a risen Lord can confirm. Our funeral and memorial services reflect compassion and purpose because the resurrection of our Saviour foreshadows a promise to us all, that "because I live, you shall live also!" But Easter's implication is more than just being assured of God's redeeming and reconciling power; it is the daily opportunity to live out our lives under the banner of a fundamental principle: this Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, now takes precedence in all things.

Not only is he Lord of the church and Lord of all the galaxies, but he is Lord of the smallest and most simple moments of our lives. In our common society, so transfixed upon the grandiose gestures and governmental goof-ups that pass for daily news, the Lord of life and conqueror of death has an abiding interest in the way we meet our neighbour or the stranger we have not yet met--persons who hold absolutely no interest to the broadcaster or publisher. But who these fellow sojourners are to us is a major matter to our Lord, the one who has called us to make him first in every moment and avenue of our experience. So then, do we honour the one who holds first place by making the kinds of choices which honour the unnoticed ones around us, whom he so deeply loves? Or are our motives for good often influenced to a selfish degree by whether we think another soul will hear our words, or take note of our actions, and then ascribe us merit beyond our due? "By making peace through the blood of his cross," Jesus showed for all eternity that he was looking not for merit, but for the reconciliation of the whole world. In that work, and by that true merit, he alone is Lord of all, and he has "come to have first place in everything." That means first place in our homes; first place in our relationships; first place in every conversation and facet and moment of who we are and how we live. Everything!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What is a revitalized church if not a community of disciples who have given him first place in everything, from annual meetings to prayer meetings, from sandwich making to peacemaking? "For in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell." This one who is truly God-with-us is the one whose resurrection sets us free for perfect service. Hallelujah to the one who is first and last and who lives forever as our God!

Grace and Peace, Rich Horst

Rev. Dr. Rick Horst is minister at St Andrew's, Barrie, Ont. Follow him at presbyterian.ca/moderator.
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Title Annotation:From the Moderator
Author:Horst, Rick
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:551
Previous Article:People & places.
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