Friday, June 2, 2017

A New Creation

Reflection on yesterday's Daily Texts:

David said to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant." - 2 Samuel 24:10

Jesus says, "Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." - Luke 15:10

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 71:1-8; Proverbs 23; 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

The daily texts for today speak of repentance, turning away from wrongs and mistakes we've made and turning back to God. The message of scripture is that God welcomes and rejoices over us when we're "lost" and return home. In fact, in the parables of Luke 15, God energetically takes the initiative to search out and "find" us. David's confession also includes a prayer for God's active role in removing guilt and restoring a place in the presence of God.

These verses lead in to another of my favorite lines in the Bible. Here's 2 Corinthians 5:17, in a mix of the NRSV and NIV translations that I think best gets at the meaning:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
"Therefore" means that this newness is a result of God's action in Christ, who (5:15) "died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them." By the grace of God, whatever is "old" in us, small, corrupt, turned-in on itself, comes to an end and is gone and forgotten. Instead, there is the "new" of  reconciliation, reconnection with God and the world, the righteousness of God coming to become a part of us.

David, and other people of the Bible, make it clear that there may be multiple times in our lives when we stumble and fall and wander away and sin. God welcomes us back. God takes the initiative to seek us out. And it's by God's grace and power that not only are we returned to fellowship with God, but those old things pass away, and we become something new.

It reminds me of another favorite saying, from Martin Luther's writings:
This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.
This seems to me to be a good way to remember that, even in the many imperfections of our lives and our times, in Christ there is a new creation.

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