“How might God renew through us the witness for biblical justice in the world?” – Gary Haugen
Today we find ourselves upon a conterminous time as we replace our 2009 calendars with 2010 calendars. I have to wonder, how many of us are also feeling like turning to a new season in our lives as well? I’ve had more than a few conversations recently regarding a desire for renewal in 2010. I have to admit I’m feeling it too.
Some of the areas of life I hear people are longing for renewal in are renewal of faith, relationships, priorities, purpose and direction. These are big areas. What about you? Are you hungry for renewal too?
Renewal is a theme strewn throughout the scriptures. Its source is Jesus Christ.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
When Jesus pierced his way into this Earth, he brought with him all things new. He brought a new world-view, a new perspective, a new Kingdom, new birth and new life. He offered rest for the weary and tired. He touched the untouchable and provided a place for the outcast. He gave water to the thirsty. He calmed storms. He fed the hungry. He made blind men see and lame men walk. He came to heal a sick world.
I like how the Biblical author Paul put it in his letter to the church at Corinth:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I also like how my high school youth pastor helped our group remember it:
You are a new creature with a new feature.
Jesus is in fact working to make his creation new constantly. As the calloused layers of me are peeled back, the covering of his salvation blankets. As the sun rises with each new day, so it is with my encounters with Christ. He renews, restores and revives daily and that is what I find myself thirsting for this new year.
Mother Teresa understood the renewing power that Jesus offers us. Below is an excerpt from her poem I Thirst For you.
I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you: I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you - that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials. I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give Me your life - and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.
I heard a story once about Mother Teresa and how a journalist had followed her one morning, hoping to capture some of her humanitarian work in action. She was unaware of him tailing her. But she didn’t go to work that day like the journalist anticipated. Rather, he found himself following her into a quiet, secluded park. There on the grass she knelt down. He maintained his distance as not to disturb but after some time he grew curious as to what she was doing on her knees in the grass all this time. As he crept closer he began to hear her murmur over and over, “I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst.” He sat nearby, watching and listening. She stayed in that position, uttering those two words for so long that the journalist had to leave.
I believe this story illustrates that Mother Teresa understood the source of her renewal. His name is Jesus. She knew that in him she would find strength to endure the slums and care for the poorest of poor and sickest of sick because her source was Jesus. He made all things new. By the awesome power and intuition found in the Holy Spirit, Jesus carries out his plan of making us new creations daily.
I feel challenged by the quote from Gary Haugen above. He asks this question in his book Good News About Injustice. What does Biblical Justice look like in your neighborhood?
I am thirsty for the King of Kings to open my eyes towards ways in which I can work to usher in justice where there is injustice, to shed light into the dark corners of this world and to love when it is most difficult to do so.
Where do you need renewal in 2010?