10/4/15 2 Corinthians 5:17
Key verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17–”Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.”
When I lived in Candler, I became good friends with my next-door neighbor, a fine man named Calvin. Calvin was a short, muscular Black man who worked two jobs to support his wife and his three beautiful daughters. He came from good stock… I had the pleasure of meeting his mother, Miss Irma, who was as Godly a woman as I have ever known. Right before we moved, Miss Irma told me, “You come on out to Hopkins Chapel, my church, anytime you want.” Well, today I took her up on her invitation.
In our theology class, we are learning that all possible sources that lead to Christian Theology need to be studied in order to successfully understand Christian Doctrine. I have decided that, in addition to attending my home church, I am going to visit churches of different doctrines in order to help me form my personal Christian doctrine. I hope to visit everything from Episcopal cathedrals to one-room snake-handling churches in my search for God’s truth.
Truth be told, I was hesitant about visiting. Hopkins is an AME Zion church with a traditionally Black congregation. After the shootings in Charleston, I thought that I possibly might not be welcome.
Boy, was I wrong.
From the moment I walked in, I was greeted and welcomed by every member of the congregation. I wasn’t familiar with their methodology, but they kindly helped me. And the worship… Holy cow. I have rarely been in a church where the Holy Spirit makes his presence known so strongly. It was the first time in my life that I cried during service. I had timidly come, expecting rejection, but I left with the love of my brothers and sisters in Christ filling my heart and the Holy Spirit burning passionately in my soul!
Paul wrote this scripture to talk about the new life we live when we come to know Christ. I know that every person in that church knew and worshiped Christ. That’s the beauty of faith in Jesus: it doesn’t matter who you were before, who you disliked because of the color of their skin or their beliefs or how you lived your life. Christ makes us new creatures, devoted to him and full of love for ALL people of this earth.
As for me, I’ll take that over hate every time.