2 Corinthians 5:16-17
So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
For twelve years, I was blessed with the opportunity to be the Director of the United Methodist Studies program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Trust me; it perhaps sounds more impressive than the reality. During that time, among other things, I taught Social Ethics to most of the UM students. This meant that we had to engage the troubling issues that currently divide us.
With my academic background, it was so easy to simply divide ourselves up according to how we reached our different conclusions. It was far too easy to settle for “us and them.” The students did this, and I must admit, so did I. But at the same time, there was another force at work. More than “two or three” Christians were gathering together and so, in spite of our arguments, Jesus insisted upon showing up! And, as we became aware of his presence, theological opponents became, once again, brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the end, saying “yes” to Jesus implies many things. Not least of these is this: with Jesus, everything and everyone looks different. The Apostle Paul probably best described it in the scripture above. Old things have, indeed, gone away, and new things have arrived!
Transformational excellence always begins with our own transformation. In that, we are granted a new vision, which is of course our Lord’s vision. The old things go away and the new things arrive, as we no longer see one another as “us and them,” but as the brothers and sisters that we are in Christ. Who are the people in your life that you need to see with new eyes…with Jesus’ eyes?
Lord of grace and glory, we thank you for the opportunity to see life through your eyes in which old things are no more, and the newness of life reshapes and remakes us through love into the Body of Christ for the world.
In Jesus’ name. AMEN
Dr. Philip D. Jamieson, President
United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences