Devotion: Becoming New Creations

July 17, 2020

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new?” 
2nd Corinthians 5: 16-17

I love the sound of cicadas, their strumming rising and falling like violins in an orchestra. They bring up all the childhood memories of summer days – sprinklers, pools, the ice cream truck, and climbing and swinging from the weeping willow tree. As my husband and I were sitting out on our deck the other evening, the air was completely filled with waves of their symphonies.  One group would start up in the neighbor’s trees and as their song dwindled down another wave would rise up from our trees and so back and forth, back and forth we were serenaded.  Did you know that the noises of a male cicada are actually a mating call that can be heard by females up to a mile away? In addition to the normal chorus of the annual cicadas, this summer they are joined by a brood of a particular type of cicadas that emerge from deep underground for their once-in-17-year mating season. As many as 1.5 million cicadas can emerge per acre. No wonder it is so loud at my house!

The favorite thing I liked about cicadas growing up was collecting their brittle shells often found clinging to trees. These shells are what remains after the insects molt from the nymph stage into an adult. Although perhaps not a very attractive metaphor, these shells remind me of becoming a new creation in Christ.  We become a new creation. One definition of the word “become” is “to undergo change or development.” In other words it speaks of a process of something changing from one thing into something new. 

The cicada leaves its empty shell behind when it emerges as an adult. As we become a new creation in Christ, we leave behind the empty shells of our old existence, our old way of seeing things. We are invited by God into this new life and for many of us there is that singular moment when we choose to shed the brittle skin of our self-focus to live a life centered in the love of God. This is a moment of grace and a continual process of becoming. Our life in faith is a series of choosing to be this new creation again and again, as old ways have a tendency to pop up like unwelcome guests. As we become this new creation, we find the gift of living in and sharing God’s grace – a freeing gift that refreshes us within like a shower does without. 

Prayer: O God of resurrection, sometimes it is a struggle to cast off our old skins, even if they are dry and brittle. They are what we know. Help us to shed all that is dead within us, so that we may live life more fully as new creations in your love. Amen. 

Devotion provided by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels