I can remember studying the discovery of the Americas by one very bold 'pioneer' of sorts - his name was Christopher Columbus. He was an Italian explorer of his day who made four trips across the Atlantic, with the most notable being the one where he sailed the oceans blue in 1492. His attempt to sail a direct route from Europe to Asia never really materialized as he expected, coming across the Americas instead. It was his 'discovery' of these Americas, already populated with various native inhabitants that gave him notoriety in his 'explorer' circles. He was credited for having found a 'new world' - complete with all the vast treasures it would hold for those willing to strike out to colonize these distant lands. Did you realize the purpose of exploration in those days was really to 'discover' and to 'colonize'? Did you ever stop to consider that the reason we 'discover' truths from the Word of God is so they can 'colonize' us with the power and presence of Christ?
A whole new world - don't miss that, my friends. We aren't living in the past 'world' of our sins and sorrows any longer. We are living in a whole new world - one empowered by Christ, populated by his presence everywhere, and rich in his blessings of love and grace. We are not called to travel back and forth between this 'new world' and the 'old'. We are called to live, discover, and enjoy the 'new world' we are brought into in Christ Jesus. Those early colonists who traversed the great Atlantic expanse did so knowing they were likely to not go back to their European continent anytime soon, if ever. They made a commitment to live in the 'new' and to leave behind the 'old', much in the same way God asks us to do as we come into Christ.
We sometimes think this 'passage' from the old into the new is marked with a two-way bridge. We can enjoy the new and still return to the old anytime we feel like it. The old isn't meant for our return, but for our forsaking! We don't maintain bridges to the old anymore than Columbus' travelers could have built a bridge between Europe and America! That bridge building would have consumed them - the maintenance of such a structure almost impossible. If you know anything about the Atlantic Ocean, you will understand it is marked by strong currents, rough seas, and often hurricanes. Those currents make the travel harder than expected. The rough seas lend to a very uncomfortable rocking motion that makes the body react violently. The hurricane winds have accounted for many a vessel's collapse over the years.
The old isn't meant for our return. It is meant to be left alone - to fade into the past as we focus on the new. Yes, it still exists, as does the Atlantic all these years later. The old exists - but the new calls us into newness of discovery and purpose. We don't need the old if we focus on the new. We find the new begins to excite us more and more, as discovery after discovery is made. We might never forget our rocky passage from the old into the new, but we don't want to build bridges over those rocky waters, my friends. We are called to live and grow where we find our newness of life. The old served a purpose - it drove us toward the new. We are now finished with the old and are free to move about freely in the new. Just sayin!
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