The wonderful connection between newness and heaven!
I remember a 16 year-old coming in to my office and announcing, “New clothes, new hair, new me!” I was still a novice (from the Latin, novus, for “new”) and didn’t recognize how hard this young man was working to change himself so that he would fit in. New has always been difficult. And staying the same can be too painful, that’s why New Year’s resolutions are such big business – I know the gym will be busy for the first few weeks of January
New has also been more than a little confusing. Does it mean just a better one (as in “new and improved”), does it mean the next one (as in “new edition”), or does it mean strange and unfamiliar (as in “visit a new place”)? Even the time of “new” has confused. The English speaking world didn’t celebrate the New Year on January 1 until 1792 when it was moved from March 25 by Pope Gregory (ask Sue Turner or Ed Fakkema for all those details!). That meant that George Washington has two birthdays. And that is confusing.
But for us, this “new” thing isn’t confusing at all; it’s about what God is doing:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 26:26)
And just so we don’t forget how this works, God gives this New Covenant in a language that won’t let us forget. When Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must “be born again” (John 3:3), that could just as easily be translate “be born from above.” God gets involved so that we can be new!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It’s not the new hair, new clothes, or new resolutions that change us, but God’s reconciling love. What a great way to start the New Year! A new heart, a new spirit, a new me!
For the kingdom, Pastor Doug Fakkema, Anacortes CRC