Saturday, August 3, 2013

A New Creation

After the professional landscapers put in my folks' lovely welcoming island of peace for passersby to sit awhile, the old island behind the new island looked unkempt. Surprisingly, it had not seemed quite so unkempt before the neatly manicured new island went in. So, armed with hoe, rake, shears, shovel, and 9 bags of black mulch that matched the new island, I was armed and ready to do battle with the old island.

I have scratches today in places that are highly unusual. I don't remember when or how I opened up some of the bloody wounds. That is nothing compared to how sore my muscles are. Who knew 4 hours of gardening would be so demanding?

However, not a single weed or blade of errant grass now pokes through my Mom's pachysandra island. Instead of a covering of old dead leaves, black mulch neatly covers the empty spaces, and in a visually pleasing way, draws the eye peacefully from the new island to the now equally lovely old island.

Many cars slowed and stopped as they passed the yard. Many dog walkers paused and looked surprised, gazing at the lovely new island of respite, harmoniously blended with the old island that looked so much better than they remembered. The sign is not yet up that tells them this is for them all to come sit and rest awhile, but I do hope to get to that tomorrow.

It is funny how the old island seemed perfectly dandy until the new island came along. We all knew the old island wasn't perfect, but it was certainly good enough. And then the new came, resplendent in its beauty and perfection. We had no choice then. We had to fix the old to match the new.
While the analogy is not perfect (no analogy ever is), this made me think of the Old and New Covenant of the Bible. In the Old Covenant, God's people had to make regular sacrifices and seek God's forgiveness anew for every sin, which if they were anything like people of today, occurred about every 1.7 seconds. The Old Covenant promulgated the rules and laws of God, and if we could have kept it perfectly, there would have been no need for a Savior, for a Redeemer, for Jesus. But we could not. Like I said, about every 1.7 seconds, we broke one law or another. The Old Covenant was critical in showing us how impossible it was for us to be righteous on our own power. It showed with glaring obviousness the wretched condition of the soul of mankind. The weeds of pride, anger, lust, envy, gluttony, drunkenness, lewdness, and worse quickly choked the beauty of what God had intended to grow in our hearts. The Old Covenant could never save us.

So, in His mercy and grace, He sent us a new island of hope, of redemption. This Redeemer was perfect, knew no sin, harbored not a single weed of evil. And God gave us the most loving offer. Repent of the wretched condition of our soul, rip out the weeds that choked the righteous life from us! Then believe that the peaceful respite nestled among the flowers and new dogwood trees was set there just for us. We could pass it by, pretend it didn't exist, despair that there was no comfort on a painful and exhausting journey...or we could say, "Thank you," and sit down at the feet of our Savior and Lord.

Today, I will be tackling the back yard, raking new paths through the forest, newly pruned and untangled by the professional gardeners.

Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIRV)

Now he was also telling them a parable. “No one tears a patch from a new garment to use it on an old garment. Otherwise he will rip the new, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will be spilled out, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. (The Gospel according to Luke 5:36-38 TLV)

-save a dog-

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