Jesus and the systems in which we live
“And (Jesus) is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:17 ESV).
The word, ‘hold together’, is from the Greek synhesteken, from which the word ‘system’ is derived. Jesus is the system that supports and establishes all the universe and creation together. We note that everything in this universe is interconnected and that Jesus is at the centre of that system.
Western culture is an opposing ideology that claims to achieve a level of individual and corporate human happiness, opportunities, harmony and wealth. It argues that if individuals are given freedom they will flourish. With technology and consumerism, however, the push for a free future with radical individualism has failed to produce meaning and relationships.
For example, the Smartphone dominates us with its stimulus of surprise and an endless immersion in news and entertainment. Narcissism is running rampant on social media. Hyper-consumption and endless activity has eroded our peace and we find society full of discontent and toxicity.
The Roman poet, Juvenal, refers to Roman society where the people have been kept so happy with free food and entertainment, that political action is not possible. In this state of play total domination has arrived.
Think about it. We are in an age of digital domination according to the German philosopher, Byung Chul-Han, and this has led to an age of depression, disconnection, disruption and anxiety.
Jesus offers us an alternative. He offers peace, connection, fruitfulness, healing and significance. In meditation and stillness we find the source of true contentment and our lives become meaningful.
Just meditate on these words in Psalm 1 and the promises given to us if we link in to a system that focusses on Jesus.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. (NLT).
Note: If you would like to read more about the systems in our society, how we are affected and the route for renewal of us and the Church, I suggest reading "Reappearing Church" by Mark Sayers (2019, Moody, Chicago).