If you take out a dollar bill and look at the great seal of the United States, you'll notice a Latin phrase underneath the pyramid: "novus ordo seclorum." The rough translation is "new order of the ages." Charles Thomson came up with the motto in 1782, and it expressed the hope of that time that the American experiment would usher in a new age of government that would be a beacon to people across the world. It would be a new order for a new age.Other periods in history have ushered in hope of a new time for the world. You might remember in the 1960s the song from the musical Hair: "This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius." It expressed hope that the hippie age of love and peace would bring a fresh start to the world. In the Age of Enlightenment, philosophers were conscious of emerging from, what in their minds, was the darkness of the Middle Ages and the medieval church, into a new age of enlightened knowledge and free expression.
There seems to be a longing in the human mind for something new. The world is bogged down in oppression. Our lives are mired in frustration. We want a fresh start, yet all of the world's fresh starts end up stale in time, and so another round of fresh starting starts all over again. If only there was some fresh start that was more enduring, one that would bring about the renewal we long to experience, life would be all the better.
On Easter, Christians believe that God gave the world a fresh start by raising his son Jesus Christ from the dead. Most people have a sense of the importance of the resurrection as it ties into our hope for life after death, the kind of comfort we find in the funeral home. Scholar N.T. Wright probes deeper and sees in the resurrection not merely the hope for eternal life, but hope for life today-a new quality of life for the world.
If you're familiar with the resurrection story, you might remember that Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener on the first Easter Sunday. Wright observes that this isn't a mistake, but a pointer back to the first garden-the garden of Eden, the place where creation began. When Jesus rose from the dead, he brought a renewal to creation and the cosmos, a true new order for the ages. If you're longing for a reset to your life, be sure to check out any of the local churches this Sunday for their Easter services. The power of the age of the resurrection is found in the life and worship of Christ's body, the church.