I am forever searching for a new life. It’s not that my life is so awful – it’s just that I can envision it could be so much more. I watch the celebrities with their millions of dollars and wish I could have enough money to do all the things I want. I watch teenagers come and go from my home and wish I could have no responsibilities save a little school work. I never seem to be satisfied, always wishing for a life that’s not mine.
Baptism offers new life. But not the kind I think I want. The kind of new life baptism offers is already mine. But I resist claiming it. This new life offers death to sin. But I still cling to my sin, reluctant to let it go. This new life offers peace, joy, and love. But I keep searching for peace, joy, and love in shiny new things, new relationships, and new locations. How difficult it is for me to let go of the old life and accept the new!
But God promises in this new life a home that is more comfortable even than the home God offers a sparrow and her young. One day in God’s courts is “better than a thousand elsewhere.” How marvelous if I could realize that a day in God’s courts already is this new life God has offered. I have God’s new life; I live in God’s courts – it is this beautiful planet and the creative, expressive, unique people that live in it. I am home.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.
Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.