I have been thinking about that lately as I have watched basketball. Not because of the new teams in the tournament or the old favorites who continually draw high seeds, but because of the AT&T commercials which seem to air every five minutes. You know the ones. They feature a man in a suit in a classroom talking with four children. They all start with a simple question: What’s better… fast or slow, more or less, new or old? And then, using the logic of cheetahs, werewolves, and candy the kids answer the question. Finally, a voice comes over the commercial with the announcement: It’s not complicated – _____ is better.
In scripture God says, I am about to do a new thing. On Sunday, I asked the kids in church which they thought was better- new or old? It was unanimous. New is better. Then, I asked their parents. The response was a resounding… It depends.
The reality of life is that faster is not always better than slower, more is not always better than less, and new is not always better than old. But sometimes it is. And in the case of God doing a new thing in this world, well, like the commercial says, It’s not complicated – new is better.
New is better because the old way was based on law.
New is better because in the old way people were motivated by guilt and fear.
New is better because in the old way forgiveness had to be bought or earned.
In Gods new way Jesus comes to this earth with grace and peace and love, not judgment or condemnation. Where religion the old way said Keep doing more, in the new way Jesus says, “It is finished.” In Gods new way forgiveness comes as a free gift. And people are motivated to believe and follow not based in fear and guilt, but rooted in hope and love.
This Holy Week many Christians will gather to hear once again the awesome story of God doing a new thing. It starts on Palm Sunday with Jesus triumphant entry to Jerusalem and ends a week later with an empty tomb. God says, I am about to do a new thing. Friends, it’s not complicated – new is better.