New Beginnings

By: Rev. Dr. Suzie Chamness

We talk about new pursuits and new beginnings. It seems that new and improved is all that is important. Scriptures each week push my thoughts in the direction of new. The word new and variations occur in the Bible over one hundred and fifty times.

We're at the beginning of a new season of the church year. As I write this its Advent season. It's the time to look ahead to the birth of Christ as we celebrate the birth of the child sent to earth to live among the people. It is no longer ordinary time. There are festivals and times of celebration. In a few weeks we will come to the stable in Bethlehem. It is a very special time in the life of the followers of Christ.

When we read the Hebrew Scripture today, we see that the new life Jesus gave the widow's son in Nain is much like the account of Elijah raising a widow's son from the dead in 1 Kings. In both instances, new life was given through the power of God. In both instances the end result was a young man restored to his widowed mother, and most importantly in both instances the glory went to God.

A difference between these two resurrection stories is that Elijah acts in private, Jesus in public. The people who witnessed Jesus reviving the widow's son in Nain were seized with fear before they began to praise God. How would we react?

Have you ever witnessed a miracle? If you think about it, you have, several times. If you think of parenting; a baby is a miracle? Because babies are born every day, we're sort of used to it. It's almost common. Dead people being revived are pretty unusual. Or not, spend some time in a hospital or more specifically an emergency room. Miracles happen there every day; lives are restored almost as a matter of routine. They very often praise God, and do so loudly which would be a great response. My point is that we are surrounded by miracles that we tend to write off as routine events, miracles of new life that I think we'd recognize as such if we'd just stop for a minute and think about it.

Every day when you wake up from a deep sleep, you are given new life. Every day is a chance to start over, to be made new and fresh. Every day is an opportunity to show love and compassion to another. To be honest, it's not likely that your new life will come in the form of a resurrection event, it's far more likely that your new life will come as it did to Paul, as the result of God's grace in the revelation of Christ to you and as a consequence of accepting the call to proclaim him as your Savior. Celebrate your new life every day; give thanks to God for the fresh start the morning gives you. It's a new and wonderful life we're given every day. Embrace it, find joy in it and give thanks for it.

Rev. Dr. Suzie Chamness is an MCC minister and chaplain. She just completed her D.Min. thru Andersonville Theological Seminary.

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