Are we chasing the right newness?

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

Is it too late to give a “Happy New Year?” You might think so. It is several weeks into the new year already. We have moved on for the most part. If we made resolutions, chances are that we have already broken them. Sorry. But if you are still hanging in there, great for you! You are an inspiration to the rest of us. The point of this reflection, however, is less about our conviction or motivation and more about the new year itself. I want to consider the idea of newness.

We have all become more accustomed to a disposables-oriented consumer society than at any point in human history. So many things are replaced rather than repaired. Printers are cheaper than ink. Who would’ve guessed? Good luck getting a tv repaired. Goods in general are so packaged and so mass produced in other places that nothing is meant to last. As a result, we are constantly surrounded by newness. New things by the boxful show up at our doorsteps on a daily basis. My brother works for UPS and has never seen such unrelenting business. Are we attuned to the right kinds of newness, however? This is really the point. Maybe, just maybe, newness is so common that nothing seems really new. That is to our detriment.

New things are very important in life. This is the biblical witness, also things begin with creation coming out of nothing – radical newness. All things start out new, and in the end, all things are new, again. We are given a new covenant, become new creations and even cling to good news.The biblical world was hungering for something new. Just read the ecstatic tone of Mary’s song in Luke 1. Newness back then was tied to God’s work, life cycles, and the movement of time. While each day was a new day, things had to last in a way back then that is alien to us today. Now, we are awash in newness to the point where it is nearly meaningless.

If God wants us to rejoice in newness, however, shouldn’t we see through the machinations of this world, the busyness of our lives, and the cult of consumerism to what God offers to us? New life, new connections, and new ways of being God’s people seems wonderfully and graciously important to God’s heart. Jesus the New Adam gives us all of this newness in a way that mirrors the glory of the sun’s embrace of a new day. Everything changed with him and continues to change when we open our eyes and hearts to his newness.

If we skip past what Jesus offers, like we skip past another new year, we lose the lasting beauty of God’s heart calling us into a greater living in community. I do pray it is a good and blessed new year for you and for all of God’s children. Real newness is here for us all in our Lord.

REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at pastorfpc@centurylink.net.