The reality of Christ's work is spelt out for us in Colossians Chapter 1 verses 15 - 20
15 He (the Son - see verse 13) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;
16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Here 'all things' is used in the same way as in John chapter 1, verse 3. "All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made".The Son / Word was there at the beginning and intimately working with the Father in creation.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . . . and God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good" Genesis chapter 1, verses 1 and 31.
In scripture the truth about God and His creation is revealed - "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James chapter 1, verse 17)
When we are faced with the reality of the T.B. bacillus; the cell which turns cancerous; anthrax; malaria and the rest:- what explanation can be given?
"The world is not as God meant it to be" is one of my starting points for explaining the Gospel. The whole of scripture is based on this premise. For background texts read for example:-
In the Old Testament ; Genesis chapters 1 and 2: Isaiah chapter 5 especially verse 7: Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9: Habakkuk chapter 1, verses 1 to 4: etc.
In the New Testament; John chapter 1, verses 9 to 11; John chapter 11, verses 1 to 44 (especially verses 33 to 39); Romans chapter 8,verses 18 to 23 and others!!
Sickness and death are a present reality, but are not part of the ultimate destiny of God's creation. (Romans chapter 8, verses 20 and 21). It would seem that this reality will only come about jointly with "the glorious liberty of the children of God". The redemption of creation is tied up with the redemption of 'the children of God' - the Church. Then, and only then, will the creation itself be set free from its bondage to decay and be, once again, as God meant it to be. "Very good"!
And so, back to our text!
Through His death on the cross, Christ was reconciling all things to Himself. The same truth is also found in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 19. More, we see there that He has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation!
Now, the practical outworking. There are a number of “pressure groups” within the countryside that do not seem to meet . Consequently they never 'hear' what the other side is saying and can end up 'demonising' each other. If ever there was a need for a 'ministry of reconciliation' this is it.
Alongside our pastoral role and ministry to any broken and hurting families, we must have a ministry to the wider creation. In the light of the above I would suggest that a ministry of reconciliation is a vital part of our ministry in the countryside. For the good of individuals and all in the community; for the good of God's creation; and not least as an example of the reconciling ministry of Christ by His body here on earth: can we be instrumental in drawing some of these very different groups together?
No one ever said it better than St. Teresa back in the 1500s: 'Christ has no body now on earth but yours.' Your hands and mine. Your availability and mine. Your resources and mine.