It has been so long since the lectionary readings made any sense together that I had almost forgotten to read the Hebrew Bible and Epistle Lessons this week. Thankfully, my rector plans on pairing Joshua and Luke which sparked my pea-brain into action.
What is the "new creation" that Paul is talking about?
The Sermon Brainwave folk want us to remember that this is communal. I am not a new creation, I am part of a new creation.
But that can't work. I can't be part of a new creation and not be one myself. Old wine, new wineskins. We know it does't work. I both can't and won't enter the new creation when I myself am of the old way. I can't because my oldness will destroy the newness, and I won't because the newness will taint my oldness.
It has to be a both/and. In Christ, I am personally a new creation called a disciple who lives within a New Creation called the Kingdom of God.
To use the example of the prodigal son story
1) younger son is made new in the pigsty and enter the new place called home.
2) dad is made new in his embrace with young son and enters the new place called joy.
3) older son is offered newness if he enters the new place called party.
Robert Farrar Capon makes this all make sense with this version of the prodigal son from “The Parables of Grace” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1988, p. 144):
(The father is speaking to the older brother): “The only thing that matters is that, fun or no fun [in the far country], your brother finally died to all that and now he’s alive again—whereas you, unfortunately, were hardly alive even the first time around. Look. We’re all dead here and we’re having a terrific time. We’re all lost here and we feel right at home. You, on the other hand, are alive and miserable—and worse yet, you’re standing out here in the yard as if you were some kind of beggar. Why can’t you see? You OWN this place, Morris. And the only reason you’re not enjoying it is because you refuse to be dead to your dumb rules about how it should be enjoyed. So do yourself and everyone else a favor: drop dead. Shut up, forget about your stupid life, go inside, and pour yourself a drink.”
Become a new creation. Enter the New Creation. Enjoy the party.