Posted by NBS

“And the One sitting on the throne said ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”

(Rev. 21:5)

I don’t know if other cultures join in a frenzy of using the coming of a new year to be the time when people make “new year’s resolutions.” – They’re going to lose weight, be nicer, exercise every day, learn a new language, stop drinking/ smoking, etc. Most don’t get kept, because habits are hard to break.

As I write this there is an AA group (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting two doors down from where I’m sitting in my church office, one of several such groups who are here each week. Though AA reaches far wider than any specific church or religion, it recognizes one basic truth: when it comes to real change, there’s more involved than simply one’s own will power. AA reaches across faiths but still uses as an essential step in making life new the recognition of our need for a “higher power.” And they need one another for strength and support.

Our Christian faith embraces these truths, and names them. Martin Luther explained our belief in the work of the Holy Spirit (in the third part of the creed) by saying “I believe I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit calls me through the gospel…” It’s the same activity of the God the writer of Revelation saw in his vision sitting on the throne, announcing that God is always about the business of clean slates, fresh starts, new beginnings.

This congregation is a few months away from a major “new beginning” as we prepare for the arrival of a new pastoral leader. We (especially the call committee) work hard to make this change well… but it is our trust in God’s presence in the process and in what unfolds in the coming years that will give life to this change.

Life is full of change. Some of it delights us, and some causes grief and anguish. The God whose coming among us we have celebrated in Christmas is a God who is to be found in the midst of all of it. Our own lives, our congregation’s life, and the life of this world that is God’s handiwork – all of it is not far from God’s presence… and it’s in the promise of that presence that peace and justice and reconciliation and new growth all have life.

Peter Rogness