"And the One sitting on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' " Revelation 21:5...."The biblical meaning for religion is 'to rejoin the ligaments. To reconnect the severed, shattered, scattered pieces. To restore to wholeness and fullness that which has been torn asunder....Father, make us a gathering place for a reconciled community." Mark Buchanan
In one of my prayer journals, I have written down, "Father, may no one emerge from our corporate times with You unchanged. May we be either deeply convicted, or more deeply converted." How strongly does such a desire resonate with our hearts? Is this what we really want, hope for, pray for as concerns our gatherings? What are we really coming together for? Do we more often give life lessons on self-improvement or point to He who gives life transformation? As well as our desperate need for it?
Sometimes I think we have gotten into the "business" of telling people how they may have better lives "in Christ," meaning with His help, instead of proclaiming the One who really does make all things new....starting with the inner corruption that we are all born with and into. Jesus becomes an additive, a helper. Coca-Cola once had a popular ad campaign that said "Things go better with Coke." Oftentimes it seems the Church has picked up on that as concerns Christ. He gives life improvements without causing any real upheaval in our lives. He transforms the landscape around us but not the cesspool within us. Everything changes but us.
Does Buchanan's view of what a reconciled community is, move you? How closely do not only our lives, but our churches resemble that? We know that we are living in the midst of a culture that has been torn asunder, but can we see that so much of the Church and the lives that compose it have been as well? We are truly, in most cases, severed, shattered, and scattered pieces. Sitting together in a room doesn't change that. Neither does our singing or hearing a sermon together. We come severed, shattered and scattered, and too often leave in exactly the same state. When Christ comes, the old passes away and all things become new, yet for too many of us, the old has yet to pass on, and the new to come. We may well have "come to Christ," but as yet, the fullness of His Life hasn't been received by us. This is not the way of the ministry of Christ. ChrisTiegreen wrote, "A fallen world enslaved in corruption cannot be 'improved,'; it needs re-creation." Is this truly the message we bring? Jesus Christ was, is, the Father's Agent in Creation. He makes all things new in us by re-creating who we are apart from the captivity of sin. Christ came to seek and save that which is lost, and that begins with you and me. We cannot be saved, found, until we realize how desperately lost we are. Sin has torn this world, our lives, and too many fellowships asunder. He doesn't offer temporary band-aids. He brings forth new life. We are broken, but we aren't to remain broken. We are shattered, but He makes us whole. We are beyond all human hope, but never beyond hope in Him. We are dead, and He makes us to live.
What aspects of your heart, mind, and life have yet to be made new? What does He long to re-create in us that even now holds us severed, shattered and scattered....from each other....and from Him? When He truly makes us "new," then everything that concerns our lives can be made new as well. We no longer have to look for fleshly improvements. We are not "better than before" people. We are new creations made so by Him. Nothing is the same anymore. All things are new in Him.