devozine

Spiritual Practice

START AFRESH

Darren Wright

Have you ever wanted a do-over? To scrap everything that has come before and to begin afresh?

We are enamored with the idea of starting again. Many popular movies involve time travel or have a storyline about adults who wake up to find themselves in the body of their younger selves, now able to right all their wrongs or to have all the fun they missed out on when they were younger. These movies sell us a dream of what it could be like to change who we are and begin again.

We imagine starting our lives again. Often we would like a fresh start on our creative projects. Perhaps you’re an artist, and your drawing isn’t coming out the way you envisioned it. Or maybe you’re writing a poem or a paper for school, and the words just feel clunky. You wad up piece of paper after piece of paper, each time hoping the fresh sheet will be the one that turns out right.

The desire to start afresh is normal. The Bible tells us that even our Creator wanted to start again. The Old Testament is full of stories where God hits a refresh button of sorts—flooding the earth and starting over with a new family, spreading people to all corners of the world with different languages, the Exodus, and the Exile. These periods of history gave God’s people time to remember who they were and to return to the ways of God.

In the biblical story we celebrate at Easter, God shifts the pattern. Instead of changing our locations and languages, God chooses to do a new thing. God comes to us in Jesus and spends time with us, reminding us who we are created to be and how we are called to live. Through Christ, God teaches us that we are people who are loved in order that we might love others. On Good Friday, Jesus shows us a God who would rather die for us than send another flood, a God who would rather suffer on the cross than use violence against us, a God who hangs on the cross rather than remaining at a distance.

In the Gospel of John, the story continues beyond the cross as Mary meets Jesus in the garden. She doesn’t recognize him, but mistakes him for the gardener. In her mistake, we are intentionally reminded of the first stories in Genesis when the people God created were gardeners, who cared for creation and lived in communion with God. The Gospel of John tells another story of God hitting the refresh button; but instead of using a flood or violence, God chooses to use love to renew our world.

Resurrection is God’s new plan, God’s new refresh button, It is God’s way of telling us that the world has been renewed, that the Kingdom of God is here, that we are in a new relationship with God and are able to start fresh. Let us be a people who live life anew, knowing that God has made a way for us to start fresh and to live in deeper relationship with God.

 

DIG DEEPER

Spend some time thinking about your life up until now. On a piece of paper, draw a long horizontal line. At the beginning of the line, write your birth date. Moving across the line, mark times when important things happened—whether they were joyful, difficult, confusing, or clarifying. Reflect on the significant times you have noted, and give thanks that God has been with you.

Next, mark today on the horizontal line. Spend time in prayer, talking with God about how you might start afresh on this day. How might you start living a life that reflects the abundant love God has shown us through Jesus? How do you envision this new life God offers you?

Darren Wright , a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, is a husband, a father of two, a wooden train track designer, a storyteller, a baker of bread, a theologian, a creative, and a lover of music.

—from devozine (March/April 2019). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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