Broken things need fixing – or so our every impulse tells us. Once upon a time, I bought a minivan for my growing family. It broke a lot. So I fixed a lot. It leaked oil, a lot of oil. Then its struts failed. Then the muffler fell off. Then the rear doors stopped opening. And the factory CD player got stolen. And the windshield cracked. And the driver’s seat ripped. And the lifters stuck so bad it sounded like machine gun fire. And the belts squeaked like screaming cats.
It took the sum of those automotive maladies to talk me out of trying to fix that old van. And on one cold Chicago morning, I did something far better than fix it, something long overdue that made my wife smile and the children rejoice. I bought a new van, and showed up at our apartment with some very good news: “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!”
So it is with this broken down old world filled with broken down old people making up broken down old churches. As though to prove his due diligence, God spent a few thousand years offering fixes – a command to care for the poor here, a law against murder there. But when all fixes had failed and the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son. He bought a new van, and showed up in our world with some very good news: “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
See, Jesus is not the latest, greatest divine effort to fix the broken world. He is a new world. He is a new creation. He is a new van, a final replacement for that old, broken down lemon we’ve been driving around all these millennia.
When I ditched my old van, I snatched the license plates off it, bolted them onto the replacement, and drove down the road in a new van. God, likewise, takes our identity off our old man, bolts it to the life of his son, and we drive down the road in a new man.
[re-post. emphasis added. Mark Bergin pastors The Painted Door Church in Chicago and sits on the board for the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. He likes reading books about how relentlessly and recklessly God loves the world. Connect with Mark on Twitter @MarkJBergin where he tweets, seasonally. Post Sunday Encouragement for Church leaders 8/18/2014 issue]