“Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t mean anything. What matters is a new creation” (Galatians 6:15)
The Apostle Paul has a pretty high view of what happened on a hill a couple millennia ago. For him, Jesus’ crucifixion on Golgotha (or Calvary if you like), was more than an act which opened the gates to heaven when we die; Jesus’ crucifixion was an act that utterly changed the world. Through Christ’s self-sacrificing love, the world is being formed into a new creation where the things which divide us are wilted away.
Our old worldview of religion as a set of rules to follow is gone. The things which we value (Paul says boast) are turned on their heads (the Beatitudes). And our morality is brought into line with the love of God which we hear about week after week at the Table. The world itself is being remade into a world where God’s loving justice reigns. The Empire of God (of Kingdom of God if you will) is breaking into the world and we live at a crossroads between an old and new age.
Now I know this sounds high and lofty. A new age? The Empire of God? The world remade? How can this be? Maybe it’s just a pie in the sky thought. Perhaps a dream within a dream or just a vision of a man whose eyes have been rose colored for too long. Maybe, but Paul isn’t speaking without pain, we read in 6:17 he “bears the marks of Jesus on his body” or he has scars because of his following Christ. His rose-colored eyes were stripped away before he sat down to write (or dictate) this letter.
No, he knew what he was talking about. He knew that God’s justice and love breaking into the world would have ramifications. People who held on to the “old world” where selfish desires ruled would fight tooth and nail to make the world which they cling to last as long as possible.
But the Church is not to be a place ruled by that “old world.” No. Not one bit. Instead, the reality of God’s in-breaking into this world and creating something new happens inside the Church, the Body of Christ. Our life together testifies to the Empire of God erupting into our time. When we come together at one Table with all of our differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, class, we testify that God is indeed making all things new, that Love does indeed rule in this in-between time of now and not yet. This is the Gospel that God through Christ is making all things new, even you and me.
Thanks be to God.