CLERGY CORNER: “Behold, I make all things new”

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

The words God spoke near the end of the book of The Revelation of Saint John the Divine are among the greatest words of hope in the Bible. He spoke these words as he sat upon a throne: “Behold, I make all things new.” [Rev. 21:5] His words get our attention because, most of us, at least some time in our lives, have wished we could have the opportunity to start all over again, and perhaps do it differently, do it better the second time around. These thoughts can enter our minds at any time; but, somehow, they seem to make an annual appearance around New Year’s Day, when we’re thinking about resolutions and the things we could, and should, do to make our lives better next year than last year.

During the next few weeks, there will be no shortage of suggestions about what we can do to redress our lot in life during the coming year. None of us need to be reminded of the importance of taking better care of our bodies, enhancing our finances, strengthening our relationships and finding new ways to explore, and enjoy, our wonderful world.

We all know how important these things are to our well-being. These are things that we have the power, if not to change, at least to address. But what we may need to be reminded of is how important it is to have a mindset that allows us to turn over to our Lord the things we can’t control, so that, in the New Year, He can “make all things new.”

Let’s think of several things that can help us develop a positive mindset. First, a successful day is often defined by how we are able to deal with interruptions. Michael Ramsey, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, dealt with this challenge in The Christian Priest Today. He reminds us that we often meticulously plan our days only to have our plans turned upside down by interruptions so that “what we planned as order is turned to chaos.” Now here is where a positive mindset takes over. If we think of interruptions as God’s will, then our days have an entirely different purpose. Interruptions may be seen as God giving us an opportunity to redraft our plans to better serve Him, and to come closer to Him. This mindset allows us to see a day we might have seen as disordered as a day expressing God’s will, and “where that will is obeyed there is pattern, peace and harmony” – and a positive mindset.

Second, having a positive mindset is much easier when we remember not only whose will is behind the unfolding of our days, but also, who is the designer of our days. The Bible is packed with passages that tell us who is in charge and who has our backs when the going gets tough. The passage I turn to most often is Psalm 36, especially verses 7 and 10: “How precious is your loving kindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings … Oh, continue your loving kindness to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright in heart.” This is a psalm meant to be prayed by a true believer, someone who knows God and believes He can “make all things new.”

And finally, T. S. Eliot adds another facet to our ability to cope with bumps in the road, such as interruptions in our daily life and our forgetfulness about who is really in charge. He reminds us, in Four Quartets, that God’s ability to “make all things new” is not one of man’s futile hopes. Why? Because not only does God love us, but He will relentlessly pursue us until we give our lives over to Him, and then He will lead us where He wants us to go.

So, my dear readers, thoughtfully make your resolutions for the New Year, and honestly try to stick to them, but don’t be surprised if God reaches down and gently nudges you in a different direction. And, always keep in mind, what someone a lot smarter than me once said: “The Will of God will never takes you, where the Grace of God will not protect you.”

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, is Rector of the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Morning Prayer at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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