“A NEW THING”
“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth.
Do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:18, 19
One disadvantage to writing an old-fashioned paper newsletter is that it throws off a person’s inner clock. It means trying to convey certain feelings on paper before you (the writer) have really gotten ready for them in real life. For example, I have to write about Thanksgiving well before Halloween, before the autumn turns its annual corner from bright yellows and oranges to somber grays and browns. Then I need to write about the extravagant joy of Christmas before I have even had a chance to truly sit with soberer Thanksgiving thoughts. Even today, as I write—having pushed the newsletter deadline to its allowable limit, and still days before Christmas—I’ve got to think and talk about a world I haven’t seen yet: the New Year, 2019. “Life comes at you fast,” the Nationwide Insurance ads claim. And as we look back over the days we’ve been given, or even just the 365 days of the year now ending, we would have to agree…. Something new is always upon us. “Do you not perceive it?”
One problem with welcoming a new year is that it comes at a time when nothing feels new. The Christmas decorations look ragged and tired in January’s merciless light. Taking them down is a tiresome task. By New Year’s Day, winter’s iciest, coldest two months are still ahead of you, with precious few holidays to break up their dreariness.
And yet, even amid all the sameness of things, we can sometimes feel the moments passing. If we stop to listen to the rhythm of our hours and days, if we pay attention to the sometimes-monotonous march of seconds and minutes, we’ll catch echoes of their footfalls drawing nearer, stomping past us, receding into the distance. When did that hair go gray on the head of the one you love? When did that wrinkle form on the familiar brow? Time passes, bestowing gifts richly with one hand and stealing them with the other.
In every season of life, there is a new thing that God is doing, if we will open our hearts and spirits to its unfolding. Whatever time it is in your life, whatever your age or occupation, the voice still calls out to you again…. “Follow me.”…. Or, as the God of Isaiah declares, “I am about to do a new thing… Do you not perceive it?” I encourage you to ask yourself these two questions as you ponder 2019: What new thing am I being called to? What new thing is our church being called to? It is my joy and privilege to be making new discoveries with you.
In Christ’s Love,