If you look into the Scriptures and start underlining the word ‘new’ you notice that making things new is not a new thing for God. It might seem like it’s bad news to some people that God makes things new while to other people it’s good news.
Interesting isn’t it. We have this conflict even within our own selves, in our hearts, minds and relationships much less think about what this new stuff means to God loving and fearing people when it comes to their religious and spiritual experience.
I don’t think it matters what denomination you are a member of, changes have occurred over the years and it probably occurs in other religions as well – people don’t like some things to change.
Don’t change the liturgy, the prayers, the pews, the songs, the windows, what else don’t people like changed?
I thought about this last night as my husband and I were on our way to an Ascension Service. We listened to WOW Worship CD’s on the way there. Then my husband listened as I sang in the choir with people in their 40’s and up, except for two young children, old songs from the 1982 Church Hymnal. It was a sung service with a chanted psalm and there really were very very few young people there. I could probably count them on one hand. And while the older people sometimes ask, where are the young kids – I had received an invitation to another Ascension Service advertising a Handbell and Youth Choir.
I don’t know how many young people were in the pews at the other service.
I don’t know how many other denominations celebrate Ascension Day – I believe most of the churches that do move the celebration to a Sunday Service. I don’t know why Ascension Day gets moved to Sunday – maybe it’s for the same reason we move secular Holidays to Mondays – so they don’t interfere with our regular weekday lives.
Does moving the remembrance of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ matter? Or is it more important that we help more people remember His Ascension and what it means for us? Maybe the answer is both and that’s why some churches have Ascension Day and Ascension Sunday.
The Disciples were deeply grieved after the Lord’s Crucifixion, they were overjoyed at the knowledge of his Resurrection, they were comfortable enjoying his presence with them as he broke bread and ate with them after his resurrection and when you read about their response to his Ascension – it sounds like for a moment or two they were dumbfounded. (Acts 1:1-11)
And then, they gathered their wits about them and went back to the upper room and waited with the others. And there were new things happening shortly after that and then the disciples went out and proclaimed the Good News of God’s Love in a New Way – With the Bread and Wine becoming the new elements of sacrifice – no more bloody sacrifices to the Lord. That was hugely new and there were many people in that time period who didn’t appreciate or understand the new covenant symbols that Christ raised at the Last Passover meal he celebrated with the disciples until they taught them about it. And in teaching about that, they taught about so much more – they taught about the Unconditional Love of God for humanity and God’s desire for people to love each other so much that violence becomes a thing of the past.
In the Old Testament we’re told a day will come when war will be taught no more (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3)
Jesus taught about peace in hopes that wars might cease – he told us we’d have trouble and there would be wars and rumors of wars before he came back. And I always remember the Scripture that says he’ll come back for us after our room is prepared. (John 14:2)
But the most important new thing God makes for us, begins with us having a loving relationship with God. When we have a more loving relationship with God, then we have more loving relationships with each other.
Lord, please give us love for you, love for ourselves and love for other people. Please help us to teach peace and live in peace with one another. Help us to participate with you in the creation of a new heaven on earth atmosphere, to the Glory of your Name. AMEN