Tending the New Creation
“And if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
What does it meant to be a “new creation?” We all yearn for renewal — but are we willing to pursue it? How is our own personal renewal connected to “new creation” in others, in our communities, and in the world itself? “Tending” means to lean in the direction of something…to “attend” to something is to nurture it, grow it, build it, pay… “attention!” So this is what we will do during the month of August 2021 toward the New Creation Christ in-tends for us!
Themes explored in worship this month include:
Re-Creating the Sabbath
Then [Jesus] said, “The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath. This is why the Human One is Lord even over the Sabbath.” — Mark 2:23 – 3:6 AND… God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. — 2 Corinthians 4: 5-12 CEB
As we reach “mid-summer,” we will look to what Jesus taught about keeping the Sabbath. In order to tend a new creation within us, we focus on what gives us life and light as a way of “Sabbath-making!” This, then, is the way we are refreshed and renewed so that the light of Christ can be reignited and shine within us. What practices of Sabbath will we engage in this summer that will refresh our spirits?
Expanding Our Family (Kinship)
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Looking around at those seated around him a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.” — Mark 3: 20-35 CEB
Tending a new creation may involve the creation or expansion of our concepts of “family.” In the scripture Jesus confirms that kinship in God’s Realm can go beyond bloodlines. We can re-create family in so many ways, whether we grew up with a family of origin that offered us support or did not. Who is our kin? All those who seek to live together in love!
Living Out Our Possibilities!
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! — 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13 The Message
The poet Mary Oliver asks in one of her works, “what are you going to do with your one wild, precious life?” The Apostle Paul is trying to spread the Gospel news of new life in Christ but new Christian communities like the one at Corinth frustrate him with their petty feuds and small thinking. “Open yourselves!” is the message here. What do you tend and nurture? Fear or hope? One leaves us small, the other offers us expansive possibilities!
Living in Forgiveness
…we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. . . . The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory. — Ephesians 1: 3-14 CEB
Living in a time of economic insecurity can contribute to our yearning for a different way of doing things. Dishonesty breeds mistrust in a world where debts are rarely forgiven. But if we tend God’s economy, grace overflows. As the Common English Bible translation says, we have a “down payment on our inheritance” through the Holy Spirit, applied toward our transformation. What would it mean to really live in the trust that we are forgiven, that even now God is transforming us through love…and there is plenty to go around!
Healing Old Wounds
Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. She was thinking, “If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed.” Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed. — Mark 4: 24b-34 CEB
When we tend to our relationship with God, we connect with the power of new life and healing. Sometimes there are wounds that have remained with us over the years and we continue to “bleed” even though we think ignoring them will make them go away. Jesus says to the woman in our scripture story for this week that her faith has healed her. Are we willing to move confidently toward Jesus, knowing his very presence in our lives can end the pain that we’ve carried around for a long time?