"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everyone has become new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The colors were bright, and the crayon figures leapt off the page, primitive and playful, as only a child's hand can make them. The gift I had been handed by little Sarah consisted of several pages stapled together, each with a single scene. The first was a colorful sun, shining down on the trees and grass, and its caption read, "The sun shines." The second showed a bee flitting from flower to flower in a field, and its caption read, "The bee buzzes." The third page showed a baby carriage, all in pink, with a little bundle of a baby tucked inside. Nearby was a circle in blue and green, showing the Earth. Its caption read, "When I was born, the world was born."
What an insight from a little child! Of course, "scientifically" she was mistaken; the Earth was already ancient when she was born. But from her perspective, experiencing the unfolding of her life day by day, everything was new. For her it was a whole new world, just beginning. And from the moment of Sarah's birth, for her parents, their whole world changed. Everything was new. This is a good metaphor for the spiritual journey.
Paul says that when we experience the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ, our whole life "starts anew." Perhaps from the outside looking in, everything seems the same; the world with its problems keeps revolving as it always had. But our perspective on the world, our "worldview," becomes transformed; our self-image becomes transfigured; our motivations become converted; we experience all of life as new. In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to this change of relationship with God as a "new birth" (John 3). Paul says, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"
This newness of life can be experienced at ever-deepening levels of our lives. Through Christ and the Holy Spirit, every day that you live can be an opportunity for a new birth, greater surrender to grace, more freedom to forgive and to love, more joy in serving. In a very real sense, God wants you to be able to say, "When I was born anew in Christ, the world was born." This is the beginning of your participation in the New Creation.
When little Sarah handed me her gift on that Sunday morning at church, I experienced the love with which she had labored to give it, and that child's love opened me to a deeper awareness of God's love - and there was newness! The sharing of this newness, this love of Christ, is what makes participation in Christian community vital to true transformation. "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything becomes new!"
Grace and peace,
Trinity United Methodist Church
3430 Harrison | Beaumont, TX 77706
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