Reflection: Christ, the Son, is before all things. This can be understood in two senses, and from the context I think Paul means for us to see both.
In the first place, he is pre-eminent over all things. He is the one for whom the cosmos was made. He is the divine Prince of all creation, Lord of all he has inherited from the Father. No-one precedes him, in that sense.
But it also means that he pre-exists all things. He has his being from before the being of the cosmos, since it is created by and through and for him. Even though we know him as Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in about 4 BC and had human flesh and was a definite and recognisable part of the world, he had existence long before that. This is something that John’s gospel recognises too: ‘he was in the beginning with God’ (John 1:2).
Also, in him ‘all things hold together’. He is not only the agent of creation, but he sustains it – as Hebrews says, ‘by his powerful word’ (Hebrews 1:3). All things find their coherence and purpose in him. The Son, for whom the world was made, is the meaning of it all. In all the chaos and drama we see swirling around us – the turmoil of history and the tumult of nature – there is a still point: the Son. He is the centre of all things.
This meditation is intended so that we feel at once humbled and awed. We are humbled because the centre of all things is not us. We are merely the chorus line, not the stars. But there is an extraordinary star set upon this stage, who is both human and divine, both man and God: Jesus Christ. And that should reassure us too, for if we are in him, we are going with the flow of all things. We have surrendered our opposition to the cosmic Lord, and are living to serve him.
Prayer: Glorious Father, I praise you for the extraordinary power of your Son in the creation of all things; and that in knowing him, I know you. Amen.