By: Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger, University Pastor

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Col. 1:16)

St. Paul’s words to the Christians at Colossae peer into the deep mystery of the person and work of Christ Jesus. Revealed as both fully God and fully human, the divine Christ was present at the beginning, Himself as the Word, the means through which all things came to be. Through Him all things—spiritual or physical, visible or invisible—came to be; even now all powers, earthly or heavenly, receive life-sustaining power solely through Him.

But all things were also created for Him. In connection with Christ all things hold together, as our very selves are directed toward Him in faith. Christ Jesus receives all honor, glory and praise for the greatest of all our accomplishments. United in Him and with one another through baptism and brought into His kingdom of light, we rejoice in the salvation given to us by His blood.

A Christian university ceases to be Christian if it is not “Through Him. For Him.” Education, learning, and knowledge are gifts of divine creative power. Received from Him, they return to Him in praise and then flow outward to our neighbor in love and service. How unlike our secular institutions of higher learning is a university like Concordia-Chicago! All we do in this place has sacred, divine meaning because He is both our “source and our destination.” (st. 1 of our University Hymn)

Though most familiar as a Christmas text, Concordia-Chicago’s hymn of the year, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (LSB 384) conveys the same message of Colossians 1:16. As we sing the beloved phrase “He is Alpha and Omega,/ He the source the ending He,” we sing of the mystery of the Incarnation—God with us in all things. Though begotten from the Father before all worlds, yet God the Son took on flesh and blood for us and for our salvation. A new setting of this ancient hymn by our own Professor Jonathan Kohrs BA ’85, MCM ’93 joins our voices with all created things in praise:

O Ye heights of heav’n, adore Him; / Angel hosts, His praises sing. / Powr’s, dominions, bow before Him / And extol our God and King. (st. 4)

Let us sing this hymn, then, not just at Christmas, but throughout this academic year with awe and love for the God who gave everything for us so that all our endeavors might be “Through Him. For Him.”

Opening Service of the 158th academic year takes place Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. in the Chapel of Our Lord, and will also be livestreamed online. The event is open to all members of the University community. Face coverings are required indoors at this time.