15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;16 for in[a] him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.17 He himself is before all things, and in[b] him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
Did you know that this is one of the first hymns of the Church? A hymn that proclaimed Christ as the head of the Church and his role in the God equation was something that, before there were "theological treatises" or ecumenical councils, there were hymns that defined the theology of the Church. Christ is God, he the head of the Church and he is all and in all.
These first hymns were woven seamlessly in the texts of Paul, just like we can assume they may have been woven seamlessly in the lives of the first believers.
What can the early Church hymns teach us today? They show us that the song of the Church begins and ends with Christ. They show us that text should be full and telling; the words of our mouths should be that of confessing Christ as everything. They show us that hymns aren't just to get us from one "saying" to another, but their very nature is to proclaim good news. Sing lustily and with great enthusiasm. You have been rescued from meaninglessness and given a new life of beauty and purpose.