Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Here in the northern hemisphere, spring has come! There is something especially glorious about the blossoms and greenings after barren winters. All around us, we see new life, new colors, and new beauty ‘springing’ forth! All of nature seems to speak to us of resurrection and new life after being buried under the cold and snow of winter.
And so our Lenten focus for today is newness. 2 Corinthians tells us, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NRSV). In Christ, we are made completely new! But how might we live out this newness we have in Christ?
My Word Thesaurus describes newness as novelty, innovation, originality, freshness, inventiveness, and individuality. If we take a look around, we see that each of us is made uniquely. And Paul affirms that we have received a variety of distinct gifts in which we can serve one another (1 Corinthians 12:4). I am an original work of God. You are a fresh, innovative creation of God. We are all novelties with individuality. This is pretty exciting news! Think of all of the years and people it took for God to create each of us. Incredible.
Our verse today emphasizes another important aspect of this newness we have: “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death.” In the gift of baptism, our old selves died- including all of our sins, regrets, oversights, and imperfections. But this also means that we died to ourselves. This new life doesn’t belong to us; this new life is to be used as God would like us to use it. So here are the questions we might ponder:
What does God see in us that we have yet to discover and share with the world? In what fresh, new way may God be calling us to use our unique gifts and passions? Is there anything inside of us that has been buried under doubt, fear, busyness, or selfishness?
What will we reveal as our new way of living and walking in this world? What new fresh aspect of ourselves, as God’s beautiful creations, will we share with others?
Our symbol for today is your photo. May the photo remind you that God has made you beautifully and originally. Life gives us the opportunity to share our uniqueness and our individual gifts in loving service to God. In what fresh new way could we open ourselves to be used by God today?
Our prayer is a beautiful one I found on the internet, but I’m unable to determine the original writer.
God, please enlighten my mind with truth.
Inflame my heart with love.
Inspire my will with courage.
Enrich my life with service.
Pardon what I have been.
Sanctify what I am.
And order what I shall be.