Word and Flesh
Good Christian Men, Rejoice!

Everything Is New - A Message of Reconciliation for the New Year

Ardi-evans-490767-unsplash (2)
In Christ, all reconciled people are new creations with a mission and message of reconciliation to a world where people live in alienation and isolation from God, themselves, and each other.
As I wandered through today's readings, I had some thoughts on 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2.
I was reminded of the labels we assign to people socially, racially, ethnically, nationally, politically. ideologically, and arbitrarily.  For most purposes, these are antithetical to the gospel of reconciliation and the theology of the new creation.
New creation changes the way we view people, even the way we look at ourselves and the way we look at Jesus.
From now on, we look at all people through new lenses - the heart of God who loves, cherishes, and calls each person with purpose and promise.
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. "
One by one, we name our biases because they are being shaped by love. Black lives matter because, so often, they have not. Brown lives, European lives, blue lives, one by one, for so many different reasons of naming, we can name them, until we can realize what all lives really means. It means we can name the categories so we can be freed from their constraints and liberated to celebrate the uniqueness associated with them.
Even our own identities are given a fresh newness, a clean slate, and a restart. Everything about us and around us is new through the transforming grace of God.
"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"
God has done this thing.
This is a God thing.
It is God's idea and implementation.
It has happened through the miracle of reconciliation.
This reconciliation is personal, incarnational, and sacrificial. God does it, acting in the physical body of His Son. He does it by erasing the stain and demerits of our trespasses.It is supreme gesture of grace and mercy.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. "
Now, we, new people we are, are appointed with the good news message that this door is now open. It is God's message in our lives and on our lips. God is speaking through us as we hold out the word of reconciliation. We are whispering and shouting, "God loves, calls, and accepts you! Come! Be reconciled!"
If we all spent even the next year, devoted to this work of reconciliation and we announced it with passion and love, would it make a difference?
Would it change our biases, prejudices, bigotry, and dialogue?
Would it change the climate of the nation?
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
Whether it gets the results or not, it is our identity and it is our call. It is the purpose for which we were born and for which we were saved. We, and I can only speak for the Ecclesia of God in Jesus, are ambassadors for Christ. We were chosen and we chose to represent Jesus. That is who we are. That is why we are here. In building bridges and tearing down walls, we are representatives of the Kingdom.
In an enormous and magnanimous act of identification with humanity, Jesus, the Christ saturated His identity with our sin, becoming sin on our behalf to demonstrate, appropriate, and activate the power of God to see us not as sinful, but as redeemed and righteous.
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
We are not independent agents.
We are not mere recipients.
We are not alone.
God invites us into a partnership with the Trinity!
That implies partnership with each other.
We have not been drawn to faith and forgiveness to become part of an exclusive club, but to work with God in announcing God's Kingdom, inviting all people to participate and embracing humanity in the circle of reconciliation.
In all of this, God is helping us.
We are agents of reconciliation in the world!
"As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, 'At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.'"
When do we start? Tomorrow for the New Year?
"See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!"
How about now?


Photo by Ardi Evans on Unsplash