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February 25, 2024

The Possible New World

Pastor KJ Kim

Genesis 9: 8-17, Mark 1: 9-15

In today’s passage, God makes a huge promise and announces a new world. God makes a covenant with all living creatures that never again will there be such destruction. And then, God shows the rainbows as a symbol and a reminder of the covenant. Yes, God replaced an old world with a new world.

We might imagine the new world would come and be by some dramatic spectacle of science-fiction variety, a super-dramatic miracle, just like a raging flood all over the world. That, however, is not what we have in the story of Jesus, which is today’s other passage. In the gospel, Jesus’s ministry and announcement of “the kingdom of God” are at hand, about to appear among us.

The surprise announcement of Jesus at the beginning of Mark is that it is in Jesus that the new world is displacing the old world of threat. The promise to Noah is being acted out in the life and ministry of Jesus. When we read and study the life of Jesus, we learn that the new world does not come in a dramatic moment of magic. It comes in the slow, daily process of Jesus’s ministry.

Jesus makes contact with the blind, lame, and deaf, those who are always neglected and discriminated within the community. But Jesus restores them. The new world comes in, reaching out to those who are often neglected and discriminated. Jesus comes to a hungry crowd and feeds them. The world comes with adequate food provisions for those without enough resources. Jesus meets and deals with messed-up people who have made bad choices. Jesus forgives them with unconditional and unending love.

That is how Jesus brought a new world. That is why Jesus was executed by the Roman Empire because the Roman Empire—the old world—was an empire of greed, scarcity, fear, and violence
that would not tolerate the possible new world of generosity, forgiveness, and healing.

We have begun Lent once again for this year. Lent is an invitation to situate ourselves in the great drama of Jesus and his ministry. That drama is the story of a new world arrangement displacing the old world arrangement. That act of displacement cannot be big or dramatic, but it should be a slow and daily process. My invitation for all of us in the Lenten season is for the process of realizing the old world of greed, scarcity, fear, and violence and seeking and dreaming of the new world of generosity, forgiveness, reconciliation, and neighborliness.

Jesus recruits new members for the new world. Jesus is still looking for a few good women and men, a few good boys and girls, the old and young, to join the enterprise—replacing the old world with the new world among us and within us. Let us keep dreaming of a new world where the rejected are accepted, a new world where the hungry and the poor are fed and welcomed, and their stories are valued, seen, and heard, a new world where the weak and the sick are fully healed, and a new world where new beginnings and new possibilities are welcomed.

Thanks be to God.

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