Sunday, March 27, 2016

The New World Order is Not Something That Any Man Can Create


Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and she told them that He had said these things to her. John 20:18

THE church has been celebrating the Lord’s resurrection for nearly 2,000 years. The world, which doesn’t know what to make of it all, thinks of Easter as nothing more than a celebration of Spring, or an uptick in business for retailers. But what escapes all but the eyes of faith is that Christ’s resurrection from the dead altered the world forever.

Every few years politicians dust off the phrase “New World Order.” They make grandiloquent claims about a new age of world peace, of no strife, no hunger, no poverty, and a new golden age of co-operation among men. In 1959 the United Nations was given a statue with the slogan “Let us beat swords into plowshares.” There are two remarkable things about this sculpture in New York City: first, it is a quote from the Word of God. Second, it was presented to the UN by the Soviet Union, a brutal, atheistic regime that persecuted people for reading Scripture, a nation that is now in the “recycle bin” of history.

In spite of the promises of world leaders wars continue to rage, poverty and death still abound and politicians are unable to implement the new Garden of Eden they promise, but what man cannot do God did, the only way it ever could be done; by ending the curse of sin by the death and resurrection of our Lord. The New World Order that every ideology promises to deliver is found nowhere other than in the Garden of Eden, and it cannot be brought back by diplomacy, money, power or even by executive order. The answer to the joy that men seek can only be found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and the solution sought by the United Nations lies in an empty tomb in Jerusalem.

How can that be? In spite of the salvation won by Christ the world is still plagued with problems. In spite of our best intentions we are still putty in the hands of the devil, the destructive forces of sin still win battle after battle (though we have won the war in Christ), and the decay of death is everywhere we look. Nations continue to rage and the love of many has waxed cold. And yet, the empty tomb shows us that death has not won. A single word from the resurrected Lord, Mary! and as many things as vexed Mary’s tortured soul were made instantly right. Nothing has changed, today Jesus still calls us by name in baptism, and the good work He began there will graciously continue. Rely on it, and do not be afraid.

In the beginning God created a world that was very good. Our first parents traded it away for a lie, that they could be like God. That’s when the present world order began, an order of suffering, temptation, violence, death, and decay. Things did not get better under this New World Order, they got worse. The corruption became so bad that God decided to cleanse the world with a flood. Every living thing except for Noah, his family and a cadre of representative animals was wiped out. As much of a cleansing as this flood was, it did not restore the Old World Order, but it was a start, as well as an object lesson pointing to baptism which now saves us.
(1 Peter 3:18) When the children of Israel were led out of Egyptian slavery, the Lord again used water to drown the evil and deliver the blessed. The Lord swept the armies of Egypt into oblivion, and allowed the children of Israel to cross as on dry ground. Again, this cleansing flood did not restore the Garden of Eden, but it did move us closer to the New Testament which God was making for us in Christ. The promise of the New Testament is present in the Old, but is fulfilled by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. By faith in Him, the swords of war between God and man are turned into plowshares of remission and peace.

Jesus is the road-map to peace which surpasses human comprehension. It’s a peace that cannot be accomplished by the Marine Corps or the Peace Corps but only by the Corpus Christi, the body of Christ, the holy Lord who died and rose again to purge us of our sins, and deliver us from this present evil age. As we await the arrival of the Perfect World Order, we have Christ’s risen body with us in the mystical communion of the Holy Supper He gave us. The tomb is empty but our altar is not! The body of Christ is no longer entombed in Jerusalem, but is manifest all over the world when the Lord’s words of institution are spoken. The Body of Christ exists not only in Holy Communion, but by virtue of that communion it also exists in the corpus of the Church. We are the body of Christ! We too will experience resurrection from the dead. That is our hope and we have no other, for if the dead are not raised, then neither was Christ. In that case our faith is in vain, we are still in our sins, and we are to be more pitied than all men. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that sleep. In Adam we all die, but in Christ we shall all be made alive!

God made the promise to restore Eden, to defeat the devil, to roll back the ravages of death, and to once more make the world very good. That promise was fulfilled when Christ broke free from death’s strong bands. At that moment the world’s downward spiral ended and the final restoration began. It is now well advanced. Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb and the risen body of Christ with her own eyes. She spoke to Him, touched Him and brought His message to the disciples. The disciples themselves would later see Him, touch Him, hear Him, speak to Him and be ordained by Him to absolve the sins of all who repent and believe. Indeed, the world has been changed forever. Each passing Easter we find ourselves that much closer to the restoration of our future Eden. We wait with patience. We know how the story ends, just as it was proven to Mary at the tomb, so we will continue to gather at Christ’s altar for as many more Easters as it takes. There we will feast on our Risen Lord. There we will continue to wait in joyful hope. There we will offer our prayers. There we will sing Alleluia’s without end. Until “in the blink of an eye” our song is translated into an eternal one.  Amen

Rev. Dean Kavouras

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