Sing to the Lord a new song…
Psalm 96:1 (NIV)
It’s a new year, and it is very common for individuals to use the transition from one year to the next to hit the “reset” button on life in different ways. So, it’s a bit of synchronicity to have today’s chapter, Psalm 96, start out with a call to “Sing a new song.”
In ancient Hebrew society, it was common to call on “new songs” to commemorate or celebrate certain events including military triumphs, new monarchs being coronated, or a significant national or community event.
Throughout the Great Story, “new” is a repetitive theme. In fact, if you step back and look at the Great Story from a macro level, doing something “new” is a part of who God is. God is always acting, always creating, always moving, always transforming things. When God created everything at the beginning of the Great Story, it was something new. When God called Abram He was doing something new. When Abram became Abraham it was something new. When Simon became Peter it was something new. When Jesus turned fishermen into “fishers of men” it was something new.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills…”
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another.”
..after the supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Along my life journey, I’ve observed that most human beings struggle with real change. A new gadget? Cool! A new release from my favorite author? Awesome. A new restaurant in town I can try? I’m there! But if it comes to a change that messes with my routine, a change that requires something from me, or a change that brings discomfort, then I will avoid it like the plague. Why? I like things that are comfortable, routine, and easy.
What I’ve observed is that “new” is always considered better as long as I think it will makes things easier or better for me. If it will rock my world, create discomfort, or expect something of me outside of my comfort zone, then I think I’ll cling to the “old” thing that I know and love, thank you very much.
And thus, most New Year’s resolutions sink down the drain of good intentions.
In the quiet today, I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Great Divorce, in which a bus full of people in purgatory visit the gates of heaven. There they are given every opportunity to accept the invitation to enter into the new thing God has for them on the other side. One individual after another finds a reason to stick with the drab, gray, lifeless existence they know and with which they are comfortable.
As a follower of Jesus, I embraced the reality that I follow and serve a Creator who is never finished creating. “New” is an always part of the program. It may not always be comfortable, but it’s always good.
As long as I am on this earthly journey, I pray that I will choose into and embrace the new things into which God is always leading me.