by David Dahl
16 “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)
What is going on? I just got into the habit of writing “2022” on everything, and now it’s already “2023”!
Time and change happen. One very prominent illustration is that as a church, we’re going to say “Good Bye” to Pr. Scott and Karen Mann, whose leadership have left a positive mark on Gloria Dei. (Don’t forget to come to the meal January 8th to celebrate their time with us!) With their departure, a door will be open to receive someone to take his place. Time and change happen.
My frustration is that with the passage of time I don’t change enough. Like Martin Luther often described himself, I feel like a “poor stinking bag of maggots”! There are things I can’t conquer, habits that seem too powerful to change. I’m just a bucket of worms, and that’s all I’ll ever be. So, I console myself in that there are worse worms than I. But that makes life a bucket of worms – worms with a social pecking order, some greater worms than others but all worms, none the less.
The apostle Paul disagreed with my attitude. He stated in 2 Corinthians 5: “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view …. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). Christmas has come! Christ is born, and life has invaded death. As difficult as this truth is to take in, it hangs on two glorious and dependable attributes of God’s nature: his immanence and his omnipotence. Immanence means “immense presence.” Omnipotence means “all power.” At the moment that anyone joins their heart to Christ, God comes into that person’s life with His immense presence and with all power.
That is to say that when Christ went to the cross, the power of our sin – our “wormish” nature—died with Him. When Christ was resurrected to new life, we were filled with his life—his immense presence and absolute power.
The Resurrection Window in our sanctuary likens this death and resurrection process to the transformation that happens inside a butterfly chrysalis. ATTENTION: The word “chrysalis” is derived from the word “Christ”. What emerges from the chrysalis is not simply a slightly improved, more attractive worm; it’s an altogether new kind of creature. You are not even a worm slowly growing wings. God has touched you. That means you are already “a new creation” – a mystery you may not fully comprehend until God takes you home and you see everything clearly.
So as the calendar changes from “2022” to “2023”, may you recognize your Savior, Jesus, who has taken on our flesh to meet us where we are and who has led us to a new place. That new place is “new” not because of a change in geography; that new place is “new” because of a change in heart. You have met Someone. That Someone is Jesus. You are surrounded by His immense presence and power. With His touch, this “stinking bag of maggots” is being made into a child of God, someone so beautiful that even the angels bow in wonder.
May God give you the eyes to see God’s “change work” in your heart and life. May God give us all the eyes to recognize His work in each other. May we remind each other of it and honor God for it. Live it out and watch God’s Kingdom come among us – His rescue of the human race; His light shining in every dark place! Blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year!
Let us all Keep and Live the Faith! -Pastor Dave Dahl
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