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Summary: A sermon for ’Back to Church Sunday’. Jesus is Lord of all creation. Jesus is Lord of the Church, and Jesus wants to be Lord of you.

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Good Morning! Can I add my words of welcome to you this morning, welcoming you to National ‘Back to Church Sunday’? Whether you are here for the very first time, or whether you are returning to Church today, I would like to say two things: One, it is really good to see you. Two, I would like to apologise for the times when churches and church leaders have done really stupid things. We’re human, we can be frail at times, and I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt by the Church.

Of course having just offered that apology I now run the very real risk of upsetting and offending you because that is a risk a Christian always runs when he or she explains their faith in Jesus; but first I’d like to share with you some very solemn announcements that have been made in Churches up and down the land in recent years. Some are taken from Church Notice Sheets, Notice boards and magazines:

1.A report from the Church meeting: the Vicar spoke briefly and delighted the audience.

2.Next Sunday is the Vicar’s last Sunday before he moves. Our special anthem will be the Hymn ‘Come ye thankful people come’!

3.Ladies are requested not to have children in the church kitchen.

4.A notice stuck to the hot-air hand-dryer in the men’s toilet at church had these words on it: ‘Press this button for a repeat of last Sunday’s sermon’!

5.Tuesday at 4.00 pm there will be an ice-cream social. All are welcome. Ladies giving milk should come early!

6.From a Diocesan Newsletter: ‘You will all be pleased to hear that the Bishop is making very slow progress after his operation’.

7.The sermon next Sunday will be on ‘Hell’. A warm welcome will be extended to all.

(With thanks to Bishop David Pytches’ book entitled ‘Burying the Bishop’.)

I wonder what your experiences of Church have been like. Many people have had mixed experiences of Church, and even though today is National ‘Back to Church Sunday’ I am not going to focus primarily on Church – even though so far I have done!

If I could add to the title ‘Back to Church Sunday’, it would be this: In brackets ‘Calling the people of this nation Back to faith in Jesus Christ’. I wonder what your reaction is to Jesus Christ.

Our Bible reading was from a section known as St Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It was a letter addressed to a new Church in Collossae, in modern day Turkey; and it was addressed to men and women who had recently come to believe and trust in Jesus.

My summary of the Bible reading we’ve just heard is this: Jesus is Lord of all creation. Jesus is Lord of the Church, and Jesus wants you to know and love him.

Jesus is Lord of all creation:

Concerning Jesus, Paul wrote that “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (1:17). It speaks of Jesus existing before the world began. In John’s gospel – one of the four records of the life of Jesus – the writer starts by calling Jesus ‘the Word’, and says this: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God …through him all things were made” (John 1: 1-2).

Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together. I love the words of the hymn that declares ‘Jesus is Lord, creation’s voice proclaims it, for by his power each tree and flower was planned and made. Jesus is Lord, the universe declares it, sun moon and stars in heaven cry Jesus is Lord!’ And I also love the Graham Kendrick song ‘The Servant King’ in which he says of Jesus, ‘hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered’. Jesus, co-existing with God before history began - the author and Lord of creation.

‘In him all things hold together’ (1:17). As you look at the world do you ever feel as if things are cracking up, falling apart even? A year ago our banks collapsed, trust in politicians has sunk lower with the expenses scandal, countries continue to be at war, global warming is high on the world agenda, and Iran moves closer to going nuclear; but in Jesus ‘all things hold together’. Everything that we are and everything we have is sustained and preserved by him. Life itself, the air we breath, the food we eat, and the motion of the earth around the sun is all held together in him, with the promise that when he returns all things will be renewed, and there will be no more death, no more tears, for the old order of things will have passed away (Revelation 21: 4-5). Jesus is Lord of creation.

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