Scripture

2 Corinthians 5

Awaiting the New Body

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Reflection

New beginnings give us a sense of hope and joy. Spring sunshine and wildflowers force us to notice the beauty of earth. Newly married couples radiate happiness on their wedding day, inspiring all to love. Moving to a new place to live offers the promise of possibility. There's just a certain energy and vitality found in the newness of things. God designed creation to continually renew itself, offering us a sense of hope and possibility.

I marvel at this design God put into play. It means all things are redeemable. Old foliage, dead trees, and green food waste all regenerate into soil and new growth. It is amazing when you think about it. Even the deadest of things can become life again. This brings me such peace and hope for not only creation, but also myself. The parts of my life that seem dead, shut-off, or stagnate still have potential for new life. Every part of my life and your life is redeemable. This doesn’t happen automatically, however. In nature, it takes creatures (ants, worms, vultures, etc.) who break down the dead stuff. It may also take sunlight, rain, fire, and wind to further the growth potential. But the potential is always there, it just needs the right circumstances and environment.

We are the same. We have to expose our “dead” parts to the right circumstances and environment to allow the growth to occur. For me, that most often involves healthy friendships, a healthy church environment, good and regular Bible study and other spiritual practices, mentors who love God and love me, and a lot of prayer. In this setting, all of me is redeemable, and new growth occurs regularly. Ask yourself where there is a need for new growth. Uncover those “dead” areas and put them in the right environment. Then look for the beauty of new life. 

Prayer

Heavenly Creator, Thank you for the pattern of new life you set in the world. Thank you that all of life is redeemable. Create in me a renewed spirit, new life, growth toward your righteousness. Find in me the least desirable parts and let your light shine on them for healing and redemption. I am yours completely, Lord.  May your will be done in my life each day. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.