Worship in Community

A Newness That Doesn’t Get Old

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There’s a tool in film-making where a director takes liberties with the details of a story in order to help the audience catch a scene’s implications. This tool is annoying for avid book readers or history buffs. However, it’s very helpful in telling a story. How does one package decades of emotion into a 10 minute scene?

One particular occurrence of this is in the movie The Passion. There is a scene where Jesus is carrying his cross to his place of execution. A sick game of violence is being laid on him even as he struggles to get to the place of his death. He’s beaten to the point of falling on his face, when his mother runs to his aid. Looking at his mother’s face, he says, “See, mother, I make all things new.”

This statement does not appear in the Gospels. However, Jesus does talk quite a bit about new wine and old wine skins or old fabric sown to new fabric. The place you find this line is in Revelation 21:1-5a. John records this beautiful scene.

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

In a movie that has multiple scenes full of intense emotion, this is the scene that hits me the hardest. Oh, how I want things to be new. I want the sickness in my body to leave and never return. I want complicated relationships to find permanent peace. And mostly, I want my own hypocritical inconsistencies, failures, moral lapses, selfish temper, heartless lack of compassion …OK, I’ll say it…I want my sin to go away!

This is exactly the promise that is given us! Isaiah hints to this newness in the closing sentences of his book.

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.

(Isaiah 66:22)

While this promise hangs before us and often feels a bit like a tease, we are not left alone, helpless, powerless. We have the Spirit in us. We are both promised that all things will be new and we are to act, even now, even in our imperfections, in this newness.

Let us drop the shackles in our past that keep us from living in Christ. Let us flee from the attitudes that make us lose our compassion and fail to act with mercy and grace. Let us rest in the forgiveness we’ve received from Christ as we over forgiveness freely and generously to those who have wronged us, offended us, even hurt us.

I want a lot to change in this world and in my life. However, this is a newness that I can’t imagine ever getting old. And when we fully realize it, I don’t think we’ll ever want change again.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself,

that where I am you may be also.

(John 14:1-3)

Categories: Worship in Community

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