Late one Saturday afternoon when my son was four years old, I left the house to celebrate the impending arrival of a friend’s baby. Upon returning home and tucking my child into bed, he asked, “Did the baby get all clean, Mommy?”
I replied, “Sweetie, the baby hasn’t been born yet. But, why did you ask if the baby is clean?”
Johnathan answered, “You said the baby was going to take a shower. But he should take a bath, like me!”
My son misunderstood the meaning of going to a “baby shower,” where we celebrate new life by giving gifts to expectant parents. His literal interpretation made me laugh, but it also made perfect sense.
We usher in new life with all kinds of rituals and fanfare — baby showers, wedding receptions, birth announcements — even birthdays and anniversaries focus on life in the year to come. I’m currently celebrating the new life I’m witnessing in my yard and garden. The winter storm appeared to kill everything in existence, but as temperatures warm and the sun shines and spring emerges, signs of life peek out from every branch and blade of grass. Flowers are blooming, new vegetable plants poke through the soil, and young, green leaves take up residence beside brown, dead ones. We only need to look outside to understand that death can, and does, give way to new life.
As followers of Jesus, we also understand how death can give way to new life, and we strive to focus on the new (resurrected) life of Christ and on the new life He promises to us.
We are Easter people, my friends! Gone is Somber Saturday when everything appeared dead and lost. Jesus is alive, and so are we! So, what exactly does “new life in Christ” look like?
Verses 15 and 16 say we are to no longer live for ourselves, but instead live for Christ who died for us; furthermore, we are to think about and respond to one another in the same way Christ thinks about and responds to us.
That’s a tall order of selflessness for an inherently selfish people. Thank God that He gave us the example of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way!
New life yields a new mindset that yields a new self. From the death of our former ways of disbelief and sinfulness, springs new life and new ways of reflecting the character and nature of God to others.
From the cross to the resurrection …
From winter to spring …
From our old ways to our new lives …
From death, springs life.