January 28, 2020
Scripture: Isaiah 43:18-21 (the Message)
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ – the coyotes and the buzzards – Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
Thought for the Day: Scripture can often portray the Spirit doing something new, yet if the Spirit is part of the Trinitarian God, and this God is unchanging, then how is there something new? Think with me for just a moment — you are four years old and it is Christmas Eve. What are you thinking? What do you believe? What are your expectations? Now think about how you might have answered those same questions when you were in your late teens. And now, if you are a parent or grandparent, how do you answer those questions? The answers are dramatically different from age to age, yet they are not wrong. It’s all about context, perception and growth. The Biblical writers wrote in a very specific historic context, yet there are places where it appears as if the Spirit is truly alive within their writing as their ideas push outside of the culture context. They ask questions or see things very differently then anyone else at the time. Now we might look at those questions or insights, and find the words to be dated, uninformed or even oppressive from our current context. And they might be. So is the Spirit really doing a new thing, or is the Spirit – in every generation and unique cultural context – working within people’s capacity? Could it be that the Spirit is always doing the same thing, yet from our next place in life or history, we see something entirely new? We might claim it as the Spirit doing something new, and that’s probably ok as long as we are able to leave behind the old and embrace the new…which isn’t in fact new at all.
Prayer: Wherever you are, O Holy Spirit, and whatever you are doing, allow me to relinquish any chains that keep me shackled to the past. It was that past that was once the creative edge of the future, but there is something else making itself known in this moment. Provide me eyes to see and a willingness to follow faithfully. Amen.
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