The End of All Beginnings

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he may be preeminent.  Col. 1:18

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

That’s the motivational slogan I remember from college.  It was a revelation: Hey!  Whatever bad habits I’d collected, whatever sins I’d slipped into, there was always tomorrow.  There was always a new start, new resolutions, a new opportunity to rise up on wings as eagles.

Gotta learn to fall before you learn to fly.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. 

You never fail until you stop trying! 

The best way to get something done is to begin. 

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

And sometimes you just fritter away another day binge-watching or gaming or eating too much or exercising too little.  But there’s always tomorrow—until, as Professor Harold Hill says in The Music Man, “My dear little librarian: pile up enough tomorrows, and all you have left are a bunch of empty yesterdays.”

Pile up enough motivational posters, and you can start a pretty good bonfire.

But how about this for motivation: He is the beginning.  Not, he is at the beginning, or points the way to it, or fires the starting gun or springs off the block first.  The beginning is a person, not an inspirational word or a first action.  It’s word and action both, the “be” in “Let there be . . .” (light, sky, ground, water, sun and moon, life).  He is the beginning tumbles out in a stream of superlatives describing Christ, so brief and simple it’s easy to overlook.  But wait—stop, go back, and consider more closely:

He is the beginning.

Every pronoun has an antecedent.  This one has several: image, firstborn, head of the body, fullness, preeminence, beloved Son.  He occupies the shining Center of “all things,” the direct opposite of a black hole.  Rather than negation, he radiates affirmation, all fullness circling and rejoicing in him.

He is the beginning.

Present tense.  The gate of time stands open, and he stands in the threshold as humanity pours through on its way to eternity .  He is the goal, but also the way, the object of all those prepositions (by, through, in), and at the same time, the agent.  He does it.  He is it, yesterday and forever, and always today.

He is the beginning.

I used to love beginnings (plural).  At the start of the school year, it was all about sharpening new pencils and drawing up a schedule.  On New Years Day, taking a deep breath and calculating resolutions.  In the hospital with a brand-new baby, making promises no one can keep.  You know what happens.  The pencils grow dull and chewed-upon, schedules and resolutions don’t hold up even for a week, babies grow into individuals and stride off in directions you never anticipated.

That’s the problem with beginnings (plural)—you know another one is going to come around again, so it’s not the end of the world if you flub this one.  Until you’re done with school.  Until there are no more babies.  Until your last New Years Day, and it is the end of the world, at least for you.

But not for him.  He’s good for his promises and he knows where he’s going—in fact, he’s already there, talking about you.  Interceding for you.  Beginning with you, day after day: the only motivational poster you’ll ever need.

Take a deep breath, and begin.



1 Comment

  1. // Reply

    He is the beginning! That is refreshing and encouraging. A great way to begin this Saturday.

    He is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega. The Ancient of Days.

    He is risen! And He is coming.

    And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *