What Can We Do?

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This semester I’m teaching Biblical Interpretation to a group of 40 students who, for the most part, aren’t Bible majors. Their careers will be as diverse as police officers, psychologists, coaches, doctors, or musicians. But one thing unites them—they live in a world in desperate need of Jesus. Around every corner and with every flip of the news channel we see war, evil, death, and suffering. Eventually this begins to take its toll on us. We ask: Is God really in control of all this? Is there anything to be done in the midst of all this suffering?

For our big Biblical Interpretation project this semester, my class will be studying Colossians 1:15-20:

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

This section of Colossians stands as a reminder to us that Christ is indeed in control. Through him all things will be reconciled. And while we may not know exactly how or when, Paul’s letter should serve as a beacon of hope.

What is more, in our work as the church, we are called to participate in this reconciliation—to serve goodness, beauty, and truth. Sometimes it is difficult to see how what we do matters in the whole big scheme of things. After talking about the migrant crisis in a class last semester, a student asked me, “What can we do?” My reply wasn’t that good. “I don’t really know. But I know we can’t do nothing.” I still don’t have a good answer to the worldwide migrant crisis, but I do know that Paul’s assertion in Colossians is a good one to keep in mind. Perhaps my response to the question, “What can we do?” should have been, “What can Jesus do through his church?”  Only through the love of Christ can the world be made right. As particular people in place, we can only serve a limited amount of people during our time here on earth. But in those engagements with the people and environments around us, we can work in hopeful expectation of the reconciliation of all things, which Christ will one day accomplish in full and final peace.

Jennifer A. Craft, PhD
Assistant Professor of Humanities and Theology

Pray that as our students prepare for their diverse work in the world, their work will be bolstered by the knowledge that Christ is truly in control. Through our work as the body of Christ, may we live in hopeful expectation of the reconciliation of all things through Christ our Lord.