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Monday, June 9, 2014

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling—if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

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 old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!”

How often do we wish for precisely that: that “old things” would go away—old habits that are hard to break, old regrets of things we wish could be undone, old things that have gone from being needed or enjoyed to a status of clutter, to-do lists that never reach a state of “all finished” but merely accumulate new tasks to add to the lingering old? “If only I could just start over . . .”

Isn’t that the appeal of New Year’s—and a birthday and a new school year and a new project and a new season? Each a marker, each an opportunity to declare a time to start over, to start fresh, to strive to put away old things and embrace the new. “This time I’m going to do it right . . .”

Thanks be to God that in Christ old things have gone away and new things have arrived. There is a new creation and we are part of it. We have been granted new life; old sins are not counted against us. We live forgiven and reconciled, claimed and named children of God.

On the church calendar we have these past months moved through new season after new season, from Advent to Christmas to Epiphany to Lent to Easter to Pentecost; we have celebrated new birth, new life. And now we stand poised to settle into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. But we enter this season as Easter people, people who have seen new things arrive, people who are part of a new creation. So we move boldly into this new season, celebrating the sacred in what some would call “ordinary,” in what is a new creation. In the day-to-day and everyday we live anew.

Renewing, re-creating God of new beginnings, you free us to live a new life in you. With each rising of the sun, with each new day, help me to embrace again that freedom, that gift, that I might live life anew in and through you. All praise and thanks be yours, this day and always. Amen.

Written by Ann Rehfeldt, Director of Communications

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