Reconciled through resurrectionA sermon on 2 Corinthians 5 March 27, 2022 by Sebastian Meadows-Helmer
In our Epistle this morning, Paul reminds us that
In Christ all is transformed into newness:
If anyone is in Christ there is a new Creation.
Everything old has passed away, everything has become new.
Paul is alerting us to a paradigm shift,
a complete change in worldview that occurs in Christians.
What’s old is now new,
It’s like the old model is exchanged for the new model.
It’s a miracle really.
The Christian life is like starting over, turning over a new leaf,
A bright new morning, fresh with new possibilities.
How does this happen?
How has everything become new all of a sudden?
Because we are reconciled to God through Christ.
God has given us a ministry of reconciliation.
There was once a couple who had been married for 60 years.
Throughout their life they had shared everything.
They loved each other deeply.
They had not kept any secrets from one another, except for a small shoebox that the wife kept in the top shelf of her closet.
When they got married, she put the box there and asked her husband never to look inside of it and never to ask questions about its contents.
For 60 years the man honored his wife's request.
In fact, he forgot about the box until a day when his wife grew gravely ill, and the doctors were sure she had no way of recovering.
So the man, putting his wife's affairs into order, remembered that box in the top of her closet, got it down, and brought it to her to the hospital.
He asked her if perhaps now they might be able to open it.
They opened the box, and inside were two crocheted dolls and a roll of money that totaled $95,000.
The man was astonished.
The woman told her husband that the day before they were married,
her grandmother told her that if she and her husband were ever to get into an argument with one another, they should work hard to reconcile,
and if they were unable to reconcile,
she should simply keep her mouth shut and crochet a doll.
The man was touched by this,
because there were only two crocheted dolls in the box.
He was amazed that over 60 years of marriage, they apparently had had only two conversations that they were unable to reconcile.
Tears came to his eyes, and he grew even more deeply in love with this woman, even at the end of her life.
Then he turned to the roll of money.
"What's with this?" he asked.
His wife said, "Well, every time I crocheted a doll,
I sold it to a local craft fair for five dollars.”
(David Daniels, preachingtoday.com)
In this humorous story, a few things stand out:
first the reality that in any relationship there will be misunderstandings, conflicts and irreconcilable differences.
No relationship will be perfect, and issues will arise.
The humour in this story is in that the husband is so clueless about the sheer number of arguments that his wife could not reconcile.
Yet, she continued to love him and work towards their marriage, and reconcile in the big picture…living out for real the marriage vows:
for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.
This story can be an image for our relationship with God as well.
How do we truly know how many irreconcilable differences we have with God? God only knows!
And yet God is forgiving and loving no matter what we do.
God has infinite patience for us, and yes, I believe God has a sense of humour.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t have created us with all our foibles and weaknesses.
God is a reconciler.
God wants reconciliation with us.
God wants the restoration of friendly relations,
He wants the return of harmony.
And he accomplishes this reconciliation through the Resurrection.
We are OK with God because Christ was raised from the dead.
In God’s reconciliation on the cross, all divisions cease.
There no longer are sinners that are separated from a sinless God.
There no longer are Jew or Gentile, male or female.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love now,
because of the restoration of our relationship through the death and resurrection of Jesus. (Rom 8)
You see, the resurrection is not just something that happened to Jesus,
it is something that affects us profoundly today.
It changes us.
It re-orients our lives.
It gives us new life and new meaning,
because we realize that death is not the end.
Trauma is not the end. COVID exhaustion is not the end.
God promises to refresh us, to provide an Oasis, a Sanctuary for our souls.
God calls us by our name, and calls us God’s child.
God bids us rise, just as He bade Jesus to rise from the dead.
The benefits of our reconciliation to God through the resurrection are spelled out in our Hymn of the Day.
We receive great comfort,
when we cling to God’s blessed assurance:
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth.
Through the difficult times of life,
it can help to sing praise to God for his restoration of harmony.
On those cloudy days when nothing seems to be going right,
and frustration abounds left, right and center,
We can pray and sing, and tread on God’s paths which are sure,
We can rely on God’s promises which are steadfast.
Because God spared nothing in his quest to make us his forever,
He did everything in his power, and sent his Son to prove the extent of His love.
We share in God’s renewed relationship, and so: all will be well.
Our saviour lives and so we can say with confidence:
“I am His and He is mine.”
Put your trust in God.
Remember the resurrection is the eternal sign
that our reconciling God loves you,
and wants you to be in renewed relationship with him forever.
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