“Making all things new.” Take note of the verb tense. Making. In the Greek, that active voice of the verb is emphasized even more than our English language can portray. God is “ongoing-ly” making all things new. It’s not translated, “I made all things new,” but rather, “…I am making all things new.” The trajectory is clear—God is still working. God is still creating, still redeeming, and still blessing our world.
For our God, it is not just a one-time event at the beginning of time or at the beginning of our individual lives; it is on-going.
As a group, humans tend to shy away from change, and yet—think of the promise in those words: God is continually making all things new! That is pure grace. That means all of the mistakes I make, all of the times I miss the target in living as He would have me live—ALL the time, God is working on me, making me new.
In Minnesota, we have the privilege of truly seeing that aspect of God’s nature right before our very eyes as we transition from winter to spring and summer. Sometimes (most especially this year) when the snow seems to pile high and when the snowstorms keep coming and adding to that high pile—it seems as if there is no possible way that we will ever see Spring. It seems that the growth of new plants, the vibrancy of green grass, the hope of budding trees, and the sweet singing songs of birds are forever banished. And yet…and yet! Our God never fails. Sure enough winter wanes and new life springs forth. In fact, we witness all of creation being made new this time of year.
Translate that to your life. WOW! How remarkable. Take it one step further and translate that to our collective life together as the Body of Christ. Incredible!
God is making all things new. You. Me. Us.
Zion is experiencing that new life in so many tangible ways—the stories would fill too many pages for a newsletter! Did you know that our confirmation students (that is 6, 7, and 8th graders) have invited more than 20 of their friends to join them in our confirmation program? As in, not only come to see what it is like—but these 20+ kids are joining in, they are committing, they are “all in”. That is God making all things new through the lives and invitation of our Zion kids. WOW. Thanks be to God.
A Zion staff member was recently visiting a family member in the nursing home when the nurse came into the room, singing a bit under her breath. “I have to tell you, you have a beautiful voice, do you sing professionally as well as working here?” Nurse responds: “No, I used to sing at church, but quit going after Covid and haven’t gotten back into the habit.” “Yeah, I think that is true for lots of people.” I’m kind of thinking about joining that big church by the golf course. “You mean Zion?” Yes, that’s it. I’ve heard good things are happening there. Do you know anything about it? “Well…as a matter of fact, I do! I work there.” By the end of the conversation, another person is excited about walking through our doors to experience welcome, Jesus, and seeing many lives being made new through Christ! Maybe she will even be singing with our choir or one of our worship teams some day?
One Sunday morning, not too long ago—three little ones were being held by their parents at the baptismal font. We welcomed them in. We prayed for and made promises with them and their parents. Too often, I have baptized children and not seen their parents again until Sunday School or sometimes—ever. I get it. Life is busy. Especially with little ones. But guess what? All three of these families have been in worship since that day of baptism. I think that is because they experience something being made new at Zion. I also think it is because you are genuinely welcoming to children.
Now, just because something is being made new, doesn’t mean the old was bad, wrong, or no longer valid. In fact, my experience has been that God never throws away the old. He transforms it. Who we were yesterday is of significant importance to God; after all, He knew each of us in our mother’s womb. That goes for us as a collective as well. He knew Zion before we were Zion. He takes all that we are and all that we are going to be and makes us new and alive in each new day.
A grieving family is offered the option of having their loved one’s service live-streamed. “Oh, you would do that for us?” “Of course, anything we can do.” Tears of grateful relief begin. “That means his dad can see the service. Thank you.” A few years ago, Zion would not have even contemplated live-streaming a funeral service and now it is another way of reaching out and sharing Jesus’ hope and promises at a very difficult time in a parent’s life. That is God making us new.
My guess is, it wouldn’t take you long to think of the ways you have seen God at work in your life and in our collective life at Zion. God will continue to transform our community with the addition of an associate pastor, as well as with the addition of new members, new visitors, and renewed members coming home. What an amazing gift God’s continual investment in us is.
It is a privilege to invest my own time, money, energy, and faith into this place with you. God is making us new, and God is sustaining our history and encouraging our future. Thank you for the ways you invest in this community too. Together, we partner with God and with each other to bring the new life of community, welcome, forgiveness, strength, laughter, love, and acceptance into everyday lives, in the name of the Risen Lord. That in and of itself is renewing, refreshing—that is co-creating with the Creator of all that is, seen and unseen! What a hope-filled, joyful mission we are on together. Thanks be to our continually renewing God who makes us see and experience His great love anew, every single day. May we always be faithful in helping others experience that newness in their lives as well. May we always be faithful in lifting up what is possible for all people, because of the new life we have in Jesus!