For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This is a passage that roots us in Easter hope—a hope that someday, somehow, someway, redemption is possible for all things. Redemption, as understood by Paul and other biblical writers, has more to do with re-creation than a whisking away of souls to heaven. Through Christ all things were created; he sustains (or holds together) all things and then through his resurrection he reconciles all things. Where might all things stop, do you think? Does it stop with people? That is how I used to read it. But the radical point this passage seems to be making is that creation itself participates in redemption. It is our anthropocentric view of the world that causes us to read all things as all people.
This widening of the scope of redemption has serious implications for our motivation to “save the planet”. We do not try to save the world: rather, we join in the saving work God has already begun. We cooperate with the Spirit in making all things new. We work from a place a hope—a hope centred on God’s ultimate care for what God has made that allows us to “be joyful though we have considered all the facts,” as Wendell Berry says. And hope, if it is true, runs deep with taproots nourished by a subterranean grace that flows strong and swift despite outer circumstances.