9God has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will.
On the evening of December 14, 1799, George Washington’s family, physicians, and personal secretary had gathered to the patriot’s bedside. The great man was dying. Then around six o’clock, Washington said to Dr. Dick, Dr. Brown, and Dr. Craik: “I feel myself going; I thank you for your attention; but I pray you take no more trouble about me.” Shortly after ten o’clock that evening Washington breathed his last words: “’Tis well.”
Having had the privilege to be at the bedside of many people as they spoke their last words, I cannot help but wonder what it was that Washington was seeing, what it was he was experiencing in life’s final moments. “Tis well.”
I am reminded of Julian of Norwich. On the eighth day of May, 1373, Lady Julian was dying. One of England’s great saints and Christian mystics was being taken down by the Black Death sweeping the land. Yet thirty year old Julian experienced such a powerful realization of Christ with her that she uttered one of the most famous lines in Christian spirituality: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Yes, all shall be well! Tis well. So says the Apostle Paul in today’s text as he writes of God’s “plan for fullness of time.” A sovereign God who “accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will” has destined us for an “inheritance” beyond all imaginings! Here is a grand sweep of extravagant grace of cosmic proportions that brings things together in heaven and things on earth.
Straining for words adequate Paul draws upon a rare Greek word to express God’s unfailing purpose to “gather up all things in Christ.” Paul uses a word that speaks of the act of adding up a column of numbers and then placing the sum of the numbers at the top of the column. It is all gathered up into one.
Yes! According to God’s “good pleasure” he has “destined” to bring all together in Christ into the glorious inheritance he has intended for us from the beginning.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Grace and Peace,
Weekly Bible Classes with Tim Smith
At the Franciscan Renewal Center
(Garces Room of Piper Hall)
Wednesday Noon – 1:00 P.M.
Wednesday Evening 7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.