The Hands of New Creation
Preparing for the Second Sunday of Easter, Three Days Before Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 150
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 17:1-23
Epistle: Acts 5:12-16
Creator of the universe, you made the world in beauty, and restore all things in glory through the victory of Jesus Christ. We pray that, wherever your image is still disfigured by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war and greed, the new creation in Jesus Christ may appear in justice, love, and peace, to the glory of your name. Amen.
A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured (Acts 5:16).
It was my first trip to Cuba. I was there to teach pastors and offer them what wisdom I could. One evening, after one of my colleagues who had traveled with me was done preaching, the pastor called those who needed healing to come forward. One woman who had been suffering for weeks got in line. When she came to the front of the prayer line, the pastor called me over.
She had been sick for over a month. She had a low grade fever and other symptoms. the tests that had been run for her were inconclusive. There she was before us. The pastor asked me if I would pray for her.
I laid my hands on her to pray. Her shoulders were warm, almost on fire. I prayed for her, for her healing, for her children, for her family. There were more persons to be prayed for, so we did.
A couple of days later as we were prepared to leave that place, the woman I had prayed for two days before showed up. She no longer had a fever, no more symptoms. She was feeling much better. She was whole. I had no idea what to say to her other than what Jesus might say, “Go and tell what God has done for you.”
God still works today. God still heals today. The new creation in Jesus is a reality. Tom Wright states,
Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project, not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.
When Paul wrote his great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, he didn't end by saying, "So let's celebrate the great future life that awaits us." He ended by saying, "So get on with your work, because you know that in the Lord it won't go to waste." When the final resurrection occurs, as the centrepiece of God's new creation, we will discover that everything done in the present world in the power of Jesus' own resurrection will be celebrated and included, appropriately transformed
We sing during the Easter season, “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.” Well, that is nice, but it is not good enough. The Jesus who "lives" within my heart is not sufficient to renew all of creation—more is necessary.
The tomb is empty. He is risen indeed!
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