It’s January 2, so I’d like to write an entry for the NEW year.
Growing up, I learned that “the blood of Jesus washed me white as snow” (It confused me, since I’m bi-racial…but that’s another blog entry). Anyhow, there was emphasis put on the fact that an acceptance of Jesus “made you NEW, CLEAN,” You were born again (Like Peter, I was the kid in Sunday School who asked the anatomy question, but I get it now). Today, I recognize that I still cling to this concept and feeling state because I remember that I did feel NEW and different when I accepted Jesus.
I thrive in NEW situations, but sometimes begin to trip up as the NEW situations become routine. Sometimes I feel sad or angry at my inability to maintain the special NEWness feeling. At these times I turn to the meaning of faith to get me through, but I crave the NEWness again. That is partially why I love the coming of the NEW year and New Year’s Day so much.
Being Born Again
When I think about the concept of being born again (the churchy language about accepting Jesus into your heart and life, at a specific moment, in a NEW way) I think about how the sensation of NEWness and often characterizes that experience. Afterwards, it is very easy to get into a routine which does not appear different than one appeared before one was “born again.” I feel that there is a lot of emphasis put on the moments of NEWness and being born again, while a calculated disregard for how in the world one should live after being born again (That’s the hardest part!). After one is born again, one must live again.
By live again, I mean, recognizing NEWly one’s position as a sociopolitical actor, a member of a global family of faith, and as a citizen whose lifestyle and actions on this planet affect others in positive or negative ways. If we are made NEW, as the result of being born again, let’s live as NEW people as well, making sure that our actions affect our neighbors (near and far) in positive ways.
It is a mixed reaction what I have when I think about this NEWness phenomenon. I am excited for NEW chances, and the NEW year, but want to get rid of the angst of routine. This angst comes out of my desire to be in right relationship with the spiritual, physical, and inner world, and I don’t like it when I am just in a routine, and not appreciating the full strength of each moment. This year, to resolve this tension, I am using this quote. “And with each breath, I am born again NEW.”
It puts a new twist on things. I can see the NEWness all around me, over and over again, if I consciously choose to. I choose to do this, by trying to live a life that positively shares love with the earth, my neighbors, and society. The quote also invites me to see how a continual cycle of daily life can always retains its beauty and the relationship between being born again and living again.
I agree with you on the need for newness, ST. I moved to Chicago three months ago and already I’m sinking into the routine of the normal. This afternoon I went out on a bike ride along the lake and was reminded how much incredible beauty I’m surrounded with. Its too easy to slip into our quiet resignation and miss out on all the NEWness around us.
“After one is born again, one must live again”
Wow, what a quote ST. One of the best I have heard in a long time, and would like to give it an amen. That short sentence articulates what I have felt for a long time, I have just never been able to put it as succinctly as that. It is great on so many levels…I’m gonna have to write a whole entry on that someday. I hope that I have your permission to use quote in Bible studies, sermons etc.