Randy Turner

The Pastor's Pen

New Things! (Updated 01/10/22)

Most of us appreciate new things: the feel of a new suit, the smell of a new car, the excitement of a new day, the potential of a new year.

Speaking of potential, I heard of a young man riding a bicycle through a university campus wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m going to be a doctor.” On the bicycle was a sign that said “I’m going to be a Mercedes.” Here was a young man who understood potential.

When we come to a moment such as this, we come with not only excitement and anticipation but also with some regret.  We wish some things could have been different.  The heart, the essence of the Gospel, is a message of new beginnings, starting-over places, a chance to begin with a clean slate.

2 Corinthians 5:17 refers to the man in Christ being a new creature, old things passed away and all things new. John on the Isle of Patmos in the Book of the Revelation wrote: I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the one sitting on the throne, Jesus, said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

That makes for a genuine excitement and anticipation, but it also brings a challenge. The challenge to be all we can be. In another great passage, Philippians 2, Paul says, “Forgetting what is behind, I press on toward what is ahead.” From here we look back as well as look ahead.

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, gates and doors. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.

So, as we look back, let’s drop all our mistakes and heartaches, regrets, like a shabby old coat at the door and never put them on again. And then let’s look forward with determination to become all that we can be.

After Nathaniel Hawthorne’s death, it was discovered that he had left some notebooks that contained random ideas he had jotted down as they occurred to him. One of the short entries in his journal read as follows: “Suggestion for a story in which the principal character simply never appears.” Rabbi Sydney Greenberg had this to say about Hawthorne’s entry: “Sadly, this is the story of too many lives. The principal character simply never appears. The person we might grow into, the human being we might become doesn’t show up. Our potential greatness lies unrealized, the splendor remains imprisoned, the promise unfulfilled.”

So, as we stand here today on the brink, on the threshold, with a clean slate, in the land of beginning again, let’s go forth with new resolve to become all that we can be for good of all people  and to the glory of God.

Grace and Peace!

Randy Turner