Many of us are carrying bruised hearts into worship this Sunday. Some of us have already watched loved ones get buried. Some of us are wondering how much longer we can hold on financially. Some of us are overwhelmed by the mental, relational, and spiritual challenge of continued isolation.
Some of us are raw from the trauma of the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery.
Again and again, through the prophet Isaiah, God consoles, comforts, and warns: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old, behold I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it, for behold I am creating new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” These promises were sealed in Jesus’ words from the throne in Revelation: “Behold, I am making all things new.”
In a whirlwind of pain and suffering, we cling to these words. We cling to all of these words—especially the all—because Jesus entered into time and space to usher in complete and total redemption.
This is always good news, but it is especially good news in a week like this one when we see how trapped we are in cycles of sin, violence, hate, and destruction. God really is making A-L-L things new. Every last bit of reality. But, we can’t embrace and participate in the new if we are clinging to parts of the old. Jesus warns us that the holy new can’t be patched onto the broken old; that, when we try to fit the new reality into the old forms, destruction ensues.
We are called to follow Jesus whole-heartedly into the new realm of God. Among other things, that means telling the truth about the brokenness of the old. That means embracing what is strange and unfamiliar in its uncompromising righteousness. That means trusting God and longing for redemption enough to let go of customs and beliefs that are familiar and seem harmless and benign. It means embracing the same kind of rejection and suffering our Lord endured when he spoke truth and lived among us—all for the offer of new life with and throng him.
So, friends—please listen in as we face the lies we have been freed to rise against.