Book of Order (F-1.0201)
Almighty God, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and set him above all rule and authority, has given to him all power in heaven and on earth, not only in this age but also in the age to come. God has put all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and has made Christ Head of the Church, which is his body. The Church’s life and mission are a joyful participation in Christ’s ongoing life and work.
The Christ Pantocrator is a well known Christian icon in the Orthodox tradition. It is not uncommon to find this depiction of Christ on the ceiling of an Orthodox church. While it may seem imposing, it is a reminder that Christ is ruler over all creation and over all things visible and invisible. In an age where freedom and independence are so highly valued, what does it look like for Christians to acknowledge that there are things in the world that are not under our control? It’s a daunting task and one that pushes us to accept that while we have made great technological and scientific strides there are things we will just never be able to control.
But isn’t that why we turn to a God who is able to carry all those things we aren’t able to control? When we worry about church attendance, job security, relationships, and so on, God is there and willing to take up the things that we offer, both the joys and concerns of life. As is stated in the Book of Order, “God has put all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and has made Christ Head of the Church, which is his body.” While our church, our faith, may have structures in place we only need to turn to God to see where we are being led. We don’t lead God, God points us in the direction that we need to be going in.
That’s why when people get concerned about the Church as a whole I don’t get too concerned. We can’t direct the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ directs us. So sometimes that means the things we want in church aren’t really what God needs… And that can be hard, especially when we find out afterwards, but God continues to call us to be active participants in the ever ongoing work of Christ in the world. I know we joke about having a lot of committees as Presbyterians, but that is why we gather in groups that direct the work of the church. It is in our coming together that we listen to the voice of God. Sometimes we hit the mark and other times we are slightly off target, but we can keep trying as long as we acknowledge the lordship of Christ.