‘So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!’ 2 Cor 5:17
Sunday March 31, 2019; Epistle (2 Cor 5:16-21)
Have you seen a new-born morning? Walked out into air all pearl after night’s rain and with rising sun. Felt the ground slightly soft underfoot and seen the grass green as emerald. Smelled spring, a subtle, earthy freshness. Sensed life not just revived but rejoicing, quivering in the held poise of the perfect present, at the same time as it perceptibly gathers itself into forward motion, into the fullness of a fresh-washed, beautifully-born day.
This is not such a morning; not such a day. Overcast. The light low. The sky holding rain.
I let too much of the day get away from me. As I have let too much of the week get away from me. Not that the time rushes unusually quickly, only that I see it step and do not set my own stride to keep pace with its passing. I should be able to. But I don’t. I am tired, I say. I haven’t slept well. Which is true. Yet insufficient explanation for my sluggish step.
I have thought on this text during the week. Certain phrases caught me: ‘the ministry of reconciliation,’ ‘the message of reconciliation.’ We are ‘reconciled to God’ to ‘become the righteousness of God.’ Reconciliation the ground of righteousness, not its result. Righteousness the growth of reconciliation, not the other way around.
Reconciliation a necessary word in this divided world. A necessary work.
I feel too worn to undertake it.
Maybe I’ve started at the wrong end of the text. Our becoming the righteousness of God is the culmination of Paul’s argument, not its beginning. Righteousness is the ultimate end, and reconciliation the penultimate step towards that end. And before that?
New creation. Everything become new.
I can’t see it; I can’t feel it. Can I know it anyway?
Push away from the desk. Leave the text. Go for a walk. Step out of the house into the gray, surprisingly warm day. Before I’ve reached the end of the front walk, I see vinca, pale purple, and pachysandra’s tiny white blooms. Daffodils — the sight of them always puts new heart into me. Forsythia flowers rich yellow. On down the road, around the neighborhood. More daffs; more forsythia; their yellow a glad color under the dull sky. Magnolia trees have moved from bud to bloom — oyster-shades of muted purple and pink. Some sort of bush with tiny white flowers, distinct against even tinier green leaves. I spy a few hyacinths blooming.
The world perceptibly turning towards new. Yet the old persists. The flowers grow up through last fall’s brown leaves. The tree-branches are still mostly bare and the grass still winter-faded. The world is not yet new-born. At least not today. And yet, and yet: the persistence of the grays and browns are lovely background for the pinks and mauves. The tiny white blooms seem distinct in their purity. The yellow shines steadily in the dull light. The newness does not have to be entire to be complete: the new shows plainly against the old, and the old is renewed by the juxtaposition. All is seen new even as it is being renewed. There is reconciliation in the recognition.
May that seeing be the seed of further renewal, of reconciliation — of old and new; ‘us’ and ‘them’; weariness and bright hope; even me and myself. And all with the Lord God.