The Joy and Pain of Newness
And the One who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
As a child I was filled with excitement when receiving new things as gifts. I loved new toys, a new bicycle, an HO car race track. Ok, I still love new things that I can enjoy! But there was another type of newness that I came to dread. I moved nine times before I was in high school. In 4th grade my parents informed me we would be moving to a new city for my 7th move. I was distraught. Did I have to leave my friends again?! When my parents put up the for-sale sign at 1020 Lincolnshire Boulevard, I was so angry that I found a clothesline rope in the garage and proceeded to beat the sign! Of course, my tantrum did not influence my parent’s decision and I learned my lesson when the clothesline whipped back and cut my hand. I carry the physical scars from that cut to this day, and perhaps emotional scars too.
Newness isn’t easy. The process of creating something new can be painful, as women who have given birth can attest. In the midst of the pain of the Covid19 Pandemic, what newness might be birthed in us individually and within the Church of Jesus Christ? I pray for those who are experiencing loss; the loss of health, life, job, income and the basic necessities of food, shelter and health care; may God open new doors of opportunity and hope for them. I pray for congregations and leaders as you navigate through a time of uncertainty and chaos; may a refreshed vision of what it means to be the community of faith be birthed.
I celebrate what God is doing among us now even though newness doesn’t come easy. Christian community is being built in exciting ways we didn’t dream of two months ago. Outreach and evangelism are expanding in a manner that many were reluctant to embrace a few weeks ago. John Wesley would be proud of those who have entered into online virtual ministry for the first time or expanded that digital footprint in dramatic ways. Wesley originally thought the church pulpit was where the Word of God should be preached. When he finally went out to the fields and streets to preach the Gospel of Christ he said, “I submitted to be more vile…” In the midst of the challenges of Covid19, the church has gone further into the world once again. Praise be to God.
In this season of challenge may we trust in the God of creation, the Christ of Resurrection and the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Behold, God is with us in this challenging time of newness.