In the opening of his letter to the Christians at Colossae, the apostle Paul pens a subversive poem that would have grabbed the attention of his listeners and aroused a variety of strong emotions (1:15-23). He was intent on promoting the supremacy of Christ. He did this by showing that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, and the head of his body, the church.
The authors of recent commentary on Colossians (Colossians Remixed by Keesmaat & Walsh) have paraphrased this poem into a targum – something that conveys the kind of message in our culture that would be comparable to what the original listeners might have heard in their context. Here it is (with a few Australianisms added in by my wife, Nicole):
“He is the source of a liberated imagination, a subversion of the empire because it all starts with Him, and it all ends with Him.
Everything, All things.
Whatever you can imagine.
Visible or invisible.
Mountains or atoms.
Outer space, urban space and cyber space.
Where it be the Australian Government and Prime Minister, Vegemite, Microsoft, Telstra or McDonalds.
Whether it be institutionalized power structures of the state, the educational system or the market.
All things have been created in Him and through Him.
He is their source, their purpose, their goal.
Even in their rebellion, even in their idolatry.
He is their sovereign one.
Their power and authority is derived at best, parasitic at worst.
In the face of the empire.
In the face of presumptuous claims of sovereignty.
In the face of imperial and idolatrous forces in our lives.
Christ is before all things.
He is sovereign in life.
Not the pimped dreams of the global market.
Not the idolatrous forces of nationalism or even religion.
Not the insatiable desires of a consumer culture.
In the face of a disconnected world.
Where home is a domain in cyberspace.
Where neighborhood is a chat room.
Where public space is a shopping mall.
Where information technology promises a tuned-in, reconnected world.
All things hold together in Christ.
The creation is a deeply personal cosmos.
All cohering and interconnected in Jesus.”