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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today’s Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:16–21

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. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 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. 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. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NRSV)


The life of faith (or the faithful life) is not a straight trajectory, where one begins with no knowledge and over time builds up a body of information that allows one to practice (unlike, say, learning a language or a musical instrument). The metaphors that are common to describe the experience of faith often use the language of journey or pilgrimage, with all the connotations of moving forward, yet sometimes finding side roads and going down cul-de-sacs, encountering forks in the road, the changing seasonal conditions, and so on.

This metaphor of journey famously forms the central image of John Bunyan’s classic of Christian literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which traces the allegorical journey of Christian to the Celestial City and describes all the barriers placed in his way and wrong steps he takes. What has all this to do with Paul writing to the church in Corinth? (Apart from the fact that we are told that Paul’s life was one of journeying to spread the gospel!)

It is that for me on my faith journey, as I struggle with the task of “faith seeking understanding,” and go down the occasional blind alley or find myself at a dead end, 2 Corinthians 5:19 is like a compass for me, reminding me what the Christian life is all about: God’s grace in Christ and our work of healing. I particularly like it in the King James Version:

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself . . . and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


God of the journey, protect and watch over me. Amen.

Written by Calum I. MacLeod, Executive Associate Pastor and Head of Staff

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