Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Happy New Year! Now that we have entered into 2013 we are officially into the countdown to our next summer season at Linwood.
Speaking of the New Year – What’s New?
I will readily admit that I am not one that gets into New Year’s Eve. I am not much of a partier, and it makes little sense to me that turning the page on the calendar – or putting up a new one – really changes much of anything. It is like watching the car odometer turn over from 49,999.9 to 50,000 miles (that was a lot more fun before the days of the digital readout). What difference does it really make?
However, I will also acknowledge that there is an almost universal longing – at least every so often – for things to be “new.” There are times when we crave a “fresh start.” There are times when we want to leave the old behind and reach for something different. Unfortunately times of real “newness” are very rare. Often the old patterns and habits are just too strong. Perhaps that is why New Year’s Resolutions have such a low success rate. Sometimes we wind up “re-arranging” things instead of making real change. And, sometimes we settle for finding or buying something new (a couch!), that leaves the real places of restlessness unchanged.
Ironically, it is the God who is eternal and unchanging who is the only dependable source of what is truly new. Not only is He the source, but He also is the one who can supply the strength needed to let go of the old and take hold of the new. Jesus is the new covenant. “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:17 (The Message paraphrase).
O.k., it is time for your first Greek lesson of the New Year! The Greek language has two words that we translate “new.” “Chronos” (think chronology) means new in time. “Kairos” means new in kind. The newness that Christ can bring to us is that we become a new people – not younger (!) – but “new.”
Back to Linwood, 2013. For all of us this will be a new season, at least new in terms of time. By God’s grace and providence we have been granted another year to share together in this marvelous place. But, for some – and hopefully for many – this new season will also bring a newness to each of us as a person – a new commitment the Christ and His Kingdom work, or a new sensitivity to the needs and longings of those around us, or a new awareness of where our lives needed to change and grow, or a new openness to the gifts of the Scripture or of prayer, of a new discovery of how our gifts and talents can be used for others.
Linwood is a place that is rich and deep with history and tradition. At first thought we might be tempted to conclude that this is not then the most likely place to embrace the new! If we are thinking new in terms of time, that may be true. However, I would also suggest that a place such as Linwood can be exactly the kind of place where each of us can be secure enough to risk reaching for those things that can truly make us new as a person. That is my New Years’ prayer for myself and for you as well.
Blessings on you,
Yours in Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor