A Note From Rev. Michelle Junkin
I have to admit that I’m a fan of the home renovation show, “Fixer Upper.” I love to see how the eye-sore, drab, outdated homes get a face-lift and new lease on life. As we approach Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, one of my favorite verses in this passage is “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). I must confess that I use to think of this verse liken to a home undergoing a renovation. Just throw up some shiplap, refinish the hardwood floors, change out the light fixtures, throw up a new coat of paint, and add updated furniture; Ta-da! However, as we consider the radical transformation that Paul is asserting, we soon learn that it is much more than a mere makeover. The gift of transformation Paul discusses goes to our core. If we limit the change to something only skin-deep then we miss the point of the radical transformation regarding who we are and to whom we belong. We are not just a “fixer-upper,” God is not doing a home renovation on us. To continue the analogy, to limit our view that God is repairing, renovating, and updating ultimately limits the radical nature of the transformation Paul is professing that we as Christians find in the gift of our new reality in Christ. Paul is boldly asserting that in and through Jesus Christ, we become new creations as Christ re-creates us through the gifts of forgiveness, acceptance, grace, mercy, and love. It is the radical assertion that in Christ we are no longer the same as we were before but now transformed by the love of Jesus Christ we have not only new life but also new purpose. Walter Brueggemann in “What a Difference Mercy Makes,” Inscribing the Text, states it this way:
God is not a hypothesis or a good idea but an agent who turns what was into what will be. The good news is the new act of mercy God is always yet again doing. And we get to tell it and to show it! We get to tell it and show it because we are God’s own people, a new people with a new purpose, the one for which the world waits.
What a joy it is to consider that the old life is gone and there are not “layers of the old paint” under the new coat just covering it up for show. Christ’s love is so radical that our sin is entirely wiped away through the grace and mercy of God. In this transformation from old life to new life, we find our purpose in and through Christ as we are renewed by the love of Christ and sent forth to the waiting world, no longer for ourselves, but for Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. With God’s help, may it be so.
Rev. Michelle Junkin
Sr. Associate Pastor of Congregational Life