Saturday, January 30, 2010

I am Thankful for “New” Beginnings

“In the beginning God created…”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

God is the God of beginnings.

Beginnings are all about the creation of something new. Beginnings proclaim the birth of new possibilities, new hopes and new dreams. They are life breaking forth into another generation.

Yes, it is true that if we are considering patterns of human existence (void of God’s creative intervention), “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

But God is continually intervening to make things new. He promises a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem, and new names for those who enter His kingdom. Christ has come to inaugurate a new beginning for all of creation. In Him we have a new covenant whereby all things are being made new (see Hebrews 8:8-12). We who are in Christ Jesus are the first fruits of this new creation: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature (literally “creation”); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

A new beginning is essential to life in the Kingdom of God. In order to enter the Kingdom we must become like children. Indeed, we must die to ourselves and to sin and be born again. In this, we are baptized into Christ and share His life. We are one with the “only begotten of the Father” who is the eternal fountain of creation. He who is the “Ancient of Days” is the beginning of all things new. He Himself is ever new, the divine infant who is the ground of His own Being, the fountain of His own youth. There shall be no end to the newness of life in Him.

To be in Christ is to live in an ongoing beginning. That which is old is passing away. But we live in the twilight between the already and the not yet. The old holds on to us with the grip of a dying man insisting we are dying with it. Whispering into our inner ear “you are stuck in a downward spiral and there is no escape. Nothing is going to change and if it does it will only get worse.” And so people wait; they wait for a new semester; they wait for a better job to surface or their boss to retire; they wait for their marriage to end; they wait for things to get worse; they wait for death. And as they wait for “endings” they fail to recognize and embrace the powerful new “beginnings” around them.

I have done my share of waiting with little or no hope for the sun to shine again, having lost touch with the new creation that I am and more importantly the eternal creative life flowing to and through me.

I have also had an abundance of new beginnings, those events that thrilled my soul and transformed my imagination. Most of these commencements were in truth culminations. They were the fruit of self-doubt, hard work, suffering, and endurance. Among the greatest were the day I married Cheryl, they days of Alethea’s and Karisa’s births, graduation from my doctoral program. Those wonderful days when suffering seemed worthwhile and the future seemed unlimited, the present was swallowed up into a glorious future.

Life is full of these new beginnings if we can receive them, although usually in smaller portions. They are the days we get a good medical report, an unexpected financial blessing, and so many occasions as we watch our children grow. They are those beautiful sun rises and sun sets and all those other “aha” moments when everything just makes sense. And so I resolve to embrace my past as the soil of my future, not the definer of my destiny. I have a new beginning arising in my soul and it is just the beginning of my beginnings.

Cleveland, Tennessee
January 30, 2010

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