This is one of those subtle language things because recapitulation is, if done fairly and well, a big sprawling thing. The word is anakefalia which is from ana “again” and kefalia “head.” Kefalia is also used as the word for chapters in books. It is also the first word of and kefalapoda the famous “head-feet” of science. Regardless of the particular kind of head meant, anakefalia means recapitulation, re-heading, or ‘getting a head again.’
So what’s the point of that, particularly if “all the cosmos” is getting a head again in Jesus. What is that supposed to even mean? What it means is that, like a good recap, Jesus is going thoroughly through the whole creation. On a really pushing it but actually still accurate level, he is working through every nook and cranny, through every molecule and mote in order to bring the whole creation into himself.
A recap covers the story thoroughly, touching everything along the way so nothing is missed. In the same way, Jesus is Going through every fragment, corner, and cranny of our life and touching everything, bringing everything into himself. And that is why this verse is so important. It is about God touching our whole life, the parts we are proud of, the parts we are ashamed of, with grace. It is the way God comes into who we are, makes all things beautiful and new, and then draws all that beauty into who God fundamentally is.
Remember, the whole creation is recapitulated in Jesus and Jesus has ascended into the dance of the trinity that is life and joy. Therefore, our half-finished and yet still becoming beautiful lives are also gathered into that holy, heavenly dance.
Take that boring day planner that tells me my life is meaningless!
And like any good Circus Barker, it’s time to say “But wait! There’s more!” Because this is not just some sort of pick up thing, some mindless ‘oh well, I’ve gotta do something’ sort of gathering, it is part of an oikonomia an economy. Before you think that economy is a word about numbers and obscure, dry, math, let me explain.
Oikonomia comes from oikos “house” and nomos “rules/norms.” In other words, the rule, the norm, the way the house runs, is the economy. While on a national scale, house rules seem to be more on the order of rules of thumb or wishful thinking, in a home we have norms and patterns that actually shape us. Plus, when the house is healthy, those norms and patterns lead us toward life. (Yes, I have already covered the way that human lives are so often so very far away from the patterns that lead us to life. In this case, lets assume that God’s house rules, God’s economy does in fact lead into life).
So the work of God is leading into an economy, a way of living that, in the fullness, the completion of time, unfolds into glory. And if that itself were not glorious enough, this plan for the fullness, the coming together in hope takes place in kairos the right season.
The Greeks have two types of time kronos the tick-tock time of a watch dividing the day into precisely equal little slices. The other type of time however, kairos is the time that comes of itself. This is the time that unfolds like a season. It is the time that says “every highway was leading me back to you” and “you saved the best for last.” It’s the time that is a season for beginning and ending, that tells you when it’s time to say goodnight to your friends and go home, that tells you that meal was awesome. Kairos tells the birds to migrate and the flowers to bloom. It sends the salmon up the river and the leaves to turning to crimson fire.
Thus this verse says that God’s action is moving the cosmos into an oikonomia that is building into the fullness of kairos time. Furthermore, in that oikonomia Jesus is touching every single thing and drawing it into himself.