New year

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         “Fast away the old year passes.
                  Fa la la la la la la la la.
         Hail the new, ye lads and lasses.
                  Fa la la la la la la la la.”

         Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
         for the first heaven and the first earth
         had passed away, and sea was no more.

                  —Revelation 21.1

I like calendars: they have a new picture every month. So I save them, and re-use them. (In 2013 you can use calendars from 2002, 1991 and 1985. Well, and, ’74, ’63, ’57 and 1822, for that matter) The patterns and pictures return, but the time does not.

Deep snow covers everything and turns it into a new world. I know it will some day vanish and the old world will return. I need to stop knowing this. It is good to trust that the world is here and will be here. I love the friends who light my life, the woods I walk in, the sea that sings to me, the heavens that fill these nights with the music of the moon. But I can easily begin to expect the world to continually repeat itself like an old calendar.

Everything is passing, even the whole world, and the world reminds me of this: in the passing of time, the passing of seasons, the passing of loved ones. In my grief and fear I cling to the world, not for its sake but mine. I cling to the world without loving it. But the snow that follows each stone wall so carefully, that attends to each branch with loving devotion, and that will soon fall from the branches and melt away, says, “No, love the world without clinging to it.”

This is only the first world. There is another, and we are passing into it, always, always slipping mysteriously into that new gift that waits inside this world like a child in its womb. Every loss is a promise, every death a preparation. As we turn through the light spangled heavens into a new year, I pray that I may be ready for a new life as well. Let this new year be one in which I am mindful of the new world just barely invisible beyond this one, ready to be changed. May I love the world without clinging to it. May I live in this moment, not a vanished one, or an imagined one, but this one precious, passing moment in which, even now, God is bringing forth a new heaven and a new earth.
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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