Images of the inventive things people have done with duct tape abound on the internet. Why is it so versatile? It’s because duct tape is made of a finely woven lightweight fabric like the canvas used on theater sets and then coated with polyethelene which gives it more durability than your average packaging or masking tape. Although its name indicates it can be used on industrial heating and cooling ducts, experience has shown it does not work that well on heated surfaces. But for the most part duct tape is a great binding agent and by looking at all the creative things people have done with it, one realizes it can really hold a variety of things together!
Duct tape has reminded me of one of the most amazing attributes of Jesus Christ. When the apostle Paul was writing to the church at Colossae he was concerned about their understanding of the Son of God. Battling the influence of several Greek philosophies which denied Christ’s deity, Paul writes that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation (Col. 1:15-20), all things in the heavens and on the earth were created by Him and for Him (v. 16), He existed before all created things and holds them together (v. 17), is the head of the Church (v. 18), has first place in everything including the resurrection from the dead (v. 18), God the Father was pleased to allow His fullness to dwell in Christ (v. 19) and He has reconciled the broken relationship of the fallen world and God through His shed blood (v. 20). Every point on this list of course is amazing but as I think about that roll of duct tape in my kitchen drawer verse 17 stands out. An alternate way of reading this verse could be “He is in all things and in Him all things hold together.”
But what does this mean? The Greek word which we translate as “hold together” is sunistemi (sue-nis-stem-eye). It is a compound word formed by two words which mean “together” and “to set, place or stand” and literally means to stand with or to stand together. Of course this applies to the literal, physical action of standing alongside someone or something. In Colossians Paul is using the term figuratively and this brings out the idea that parts or pieces are being joined together as a whole as they are being brought into existence much like ingredients are brought together in a bowl to make a savory meal. A false religion called Gnosticism was infiltrating the church. According to the Gnostics creation had been carried out by an inferior god who was ignorant of and hostile to the true God. Paul claims that God’s Son was not only the agent of creation (all things were created by Him) but that He is IN everything He made and actually holding it together. In other words, He is not only the duct tape, He is the very fibers and polyethelene which give the tape its incredible holding power!
This may sound high and lofty but there is actual evidence within creation itself. Your very body is a testimony to this fact. We have billions of cells in us made up of billions of molecules. Some of these molecules are “cell adhesion molecules”, also known as “laminin”, and their job is to hold the different membranes in your body together. When viewed under a microscope the very distinct shape of a cross can be seen in its structure!* Like an artist’s signature, laminin identifies not only the One who created it, but the One who intrinsically holds all things together. It’s even more amazing than duct tape. When we think of Jesus in light of His “adhesive” quality, how could we not join the psalmist in praise of our Creator (Ps. 22: 9-10; 71:6; 139: 13-14)?
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre
*Want to know more about laminin? Listen to this short clip by Louie Giglio. You’ll be truly inspired! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSR8z_OuW5E