New.

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: [SEE] the old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17, TNIV)

New.  Greek:  καινὴ

strange, something quite new 

See.  Greek:  ἰδοὺ

behold, look, or SEE

I love celebrating Easter.  I love everything about this day.  The kids getting up when they were younger and looking for Easter baskets, the meal that afternoon, family coming into visit, all of it!  I especially like going to church and hearing folks say “Christ is Risen” and the response “He is Risen indeed”!

There is something powerful in those words.  It is giving voice to the new Reality.  God has come to this earth in the most humble fashion, as a baby.  God in the flesh, with us.  Jesus.

This Jesus loved, healed, hurt, laughed, and gave of himself.  Jesus represented us, demonstrating how life was meant to be lived, to be truly human..and he lived it to the full.  He died a humiliating death on a Roman cross because of his actions on our behalf, for all of humanity.  I believe that he loved us so, that death could not contain him and he rose again three days later.

Through this one single act of Jesus coming, living, dying, and rising from the dead, all of creation gives testimony that something new has happened and is happening.  This phrase, “new creation has come” in the Scripture passage above has a meaning in Greek of a completed action that continues to this day.  There is a new reality that gives testimony, not only on Easter, but every moment in history that has now been redeemed!  Jesus absorbed all of the sin, all of the ugliness, all of the hurt and pain that has happened and will happen through his actions of being born, living, dying, and rising…actions that we live into as well.

The Roman Catholic philosopher/theologian, Pierre Teillhard de Chardin, talks about a “spiritual evolution”, that throughout history, the actions of God in and through humanity cause a progression towards growth, maturity, awareness.  Spiritual growth is a constant whether we recognize it or not.  It’s happening all around us!  We are given new eyes and ears to see and hear God’s actions on our behalf, creating and recreating…even co-creating with us, a new life.   A life that is filled with possibility, imagination, risk, adventure, as well as stability in relationship in community with others.

Friends, this Jesus is alive!  His Presence is in this place, this people, the particular church called Fleming Road UCC that I serve as pastor and every faith community, my neighborhood and every neighborhood,  filling every nook and corner of our lives and all around us!  God’s Spirit is moving powerfully through this church.  May we continue to have our eyes opened to “see” this new Reality as we grow together as a community!

May we also continue to invite others to see and live into this new Reality that Jesus demonstrates.   Really, our faith communities and neighborhoods have amazing legacies.    There are times when I don’t see it or experience it, times when I may want to give up, but then, somehow, I see or experience the “deep magic” that C.S. Lewis writes about and hope grows for the places and people that I am privileged to know.  And now we have a new history in our neighborhoods and faith communities rising up, new stories of being engaged in the places we reside with the people we encounter.  It’s beautiful and needs to be celebrated.  All of it, the good and the bad …God’s redemptive work is evident throughout all things.

God is doing a new thing, God is calling us towards a resetting of our story together.  We have a gift of listening, seeing, experiencing our neighborhoods, loving them well, and simply being a part of God’s story emerging in this place…and, as we experience our growing together with one another, our neighbors, our faith communities, and God, we take those lessons learned and practiced into whatever context we find ourselves and experience God’s faithful presence and work there as well!

New eyes.  New ears.  Celebrating our experiences, the good and the bad, and anticipating what is to come.  It is new, and it is beautiful.  It is the Easter story.

If you want to be a part of this story, give me a call, let’s grab coffee and chat about how our stories fit and to shape the new story that is emerging in 2018 and beyond!

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