By Leah Robin, Administrative Pastor
Colossians 1: 15-20 "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 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."
One of the glorious burdens of being a pastor is that you get to walk alongside people in the dark places: you get front row tickets to people’s problems, addictions, sometimes you have to face evil straight in the eye…in the midst of sex trafficking, eating disorders, addictions, racism, sexism, and other atrocities, sometimes it’s hard to remember the ending of the story, that good triumphs over evil, not the other way around.
How do you keep hope at the forefront when evil seems insurmountable?
I went to a baby shower for an exotic dancer recently. (Contact Rebecca Cooper about her work with Beloved at firstname.lastname@example.org ). In so many ways, Christina was just like one of my girlfriends: sweet, kind, funny, and sassy. She liked makeup, was active on Facebook, and was worried about looking fat in pictures. She oohed and aahed at each baby gift opened. Yet in other ways, our worlds could not be more apart. I am a pastor, whose job is intertwined with moral integrity. She goes to work each day, using her body to pay the rent.
How did we get here?
Last month, our pastoral staff took a tour of Denver with Dry Bones (an awesome ministry that works with homeless teenagers in our city). We learned these haunting statistics: every night in Denver there are 5,115 women who sleep on the streets. Within the first 24-hour period of her being on the streets, she is approached for sex-trafficking of some kind - whether it’s for security, warmth, shelter, or money.
In the midst of sex trafficking and homelessness, I often don’t know how to pray. Sometimes all that escapes my throat is Maranatha: Come quickly, Lord Jesus. If injustices like these break my heart into a million pieces, I can only image God’s heartbreak at the distortion of his original plan. To think he created us as creatures for a home – to belong in safety and love, for connection and family. And all of this in the beautiful abode of a garden, surrounded by incandescent sunlight and a kaleidoscope of color! To think he created the beauty and power of sex as a demonstration of his extravagant love for his people. And yet in sex trafficking, what is most beautiful has gone horribly horribly wrong to exploit and corrupt girls and boys around the world.
When the evil seems to outnumber good, when the injustice shouts louder than shalom, when corruption glares brighter than all that is pure, loving, hopeful and righteous, I need the reminder of Colossians 1. It’s so much more that an ancient poem. It’s more than a doctrinal statement on the second person of the Trinity. It’s the last page in the novel, the epilogue, the telling of the tale that we’ve been holding our breath for hundreds of pages to read: that good has and will conquer, that all will be set right, that those who are abused, in bondage and trapped, will be healed, restored, mended, held, and set free. That no one, NO ONE is beyond the grasp, the love, and the chase of God. That all evil will one day answer to Him, Who is Supreme. And that one day we will experience justice in our forever home.
Until then, let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us continue to reveal “the image of the invisible God” by proclaiming Christ in word and deed.