Monday, March 07, 2016

Create a New Earth

Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. Isaiah 65:17-19b

The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.  John 4:49-50

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
(Written by Pete Seeger, “How Can I Keep from Singing?”)
( performed by Marty Haugen, et. al)

Today we get the message of new creation from the prophets and from the Good News.  Our Gospel shifts from Luke and Matthew earlier in the Lenten season to John where we read of the second sign/miracle that Jesus performed. 

The seven signs are:
  • (Sunday) Changing water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11) 
  • (Monday) Healing the royal official's son in Capernaum (John 4:46-54)
  • (Tuesday) Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (John 5:1-18)
  • (Wednesday) Feeding the five thousand (John 6:5-14)
  • (Thursday) Jesus' walk on water (John 6:16-24)
  • (Friday) Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-7)
  • (Saturday) Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45)

Since the “beginning,” the natural world worked in one way.  Water was water, not wine.  When you fermented grapes, you got wine.  But the properties of the two drinks were unique and one would not change into the other at the mere presence of the Lord.  But, as one poet would write, it was as if the water in Cana looked at its creator and blushed. 

Since the beginning, death was death.  Yet, when the royal official turned to Jesus in faith, death was defeated in this one case (also foreshadowing another Easter defeat to come).  Jesus was not only upsetting the natural order, he was upsetting the people who kept order of the natural world.  

In Luke, Jesus started to agitate the Pharisees from the very first day of his public ministry when he read from the scrolls of Isaiah.  In John, Jesus goes beyond mere reading to actually live out the prophetic new creation with seven miracles.

The seven signs are seen by some scholars and theologians as evidence of New Testament creation theology in the Gospel of John.  The resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday is the eighth sign, indicating a New Genesis that flows anew from a calendar week of re-creation and then a New Creation as predicted by Isaiah beginning with the resurrection.  Others see the final sign as concluding with the great harvest of fish in the last scene of John’s Good News. 

All this New Creation is done and said and studied so that Jesus might live again in us and we might live again in Jesus.

As the temperatures warm this week, we can begin to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring.  What ways can you celebrate the arrival of a New Creation and new life this year?  Consider planting the seed for something inside or outside that will grow into flowers, spices or vegetables for you later this year – and which will be a constant reminder of new life.   

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