IVP - Strangely Dim - Something Old, Something's New

August 3, 2007

Something Old, Something's New

There's something about new. I have to admit, I like it. Not change, mind you. But new. New music to listen to (thanks to Dave for graciously lending me his new Andrew Bird CD, Armchair Apocrypha, last weekend). New shoes (there's nothing like new running shoes to motivate you to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m.). New recipes (I highly recommend sautéed eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes over pasta, compliments of Real Simple). Ann said goodbye to InterVarsity Press and Strangely Dim for a new job, a new routine that will allow her to spend more time with her husband and sister. New holds with it the possibility of something better.

Maybe that's why I still like my birthdays. They are a second New Year's Eve for me, prompting even more processing in my brain than usual and bringing about a certain glazed, "I'm analyzing the past year of my life" look in my eyes. But after the reflection comes a peek at what lies ahead: an untouched year, in which anything can happen. A new age. Maybe that's why I like mornings so much too. No matter what happened the previous day, there is something powerful about waking to a day that's new, fresh, completely clean.

My sister and I are feverishly working our way through the television series Lost. We are, admittedly, somewhat addicted. The series follows the lives of a group of people whose plane crashes on a mysterious, seemingly out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere island. People who were mostly unknown to each other before they crashed. As the episodes reveal their histories, you realize what an opportunity this is for many of them: a new day and place, a chance to start over, to separate themselves from the painful, broken lives they were living before they crashed.

A new day doesn't offer that grand of an opportunity, of course. Nothing magical happens when the clock changes from 11:59 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. We still have to face our problems, our sins, other people's sins. The characters on Lost, too, even with their unique situation, cannot completely escape where they've come from. They have to face the habits that follow them to the island, the shadows of the past, and the ways their choices and experiences have shaped and formed them. The reality is that each new day contains some of the old.

And yet, I still feel amazed that there is something new in each day. At least a new sky--a sunrise or cloud formation that has never been duplicated before. New conversation. New insight, perhaps. New courage, maybe. New opportunities to affirm others and speak truth and show grace.

It's one thing God is all about, actually: new. Every day, his mercy is new. And, as I drag my weary, needy self to him, his new mercy becomes more tangible, more visible, I think, than even the morning's new sky.

We've been memorizing Philippians 1:6 ("being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus") at my church this summer, and I've been struck by its power when someone else speaks it to me. I have to have others telling me that they're confident that he'll complete his good work in me, because I have trouble seeing it. But the reality is, every day he is doing new work in me and new work in you and new work in places and people we have never heard of.

New shoes, for all their shine, at best only make me optimistic that maybe I'll run faster, or the run will be easier, or the impact on my body will be lessened. In a week, they're old, and the alarm goes off at 5:30 and I lie in bed and moan. But God's new--his work, his grace, his mercy--keeps giving me hope, despite myself, despite the old that clings to me.

So here's to waking tomorrow and Sunday and Monday and seeing the sky and giving grace and receiving mercy. Here's to helping each other see God's new.

I promise, it won't get old.

Posted by Lisa Rieck at August 3, 2007 5:33 PM Bookmark and Share


Hey Lisa, YES, praise GOD for ALL of the NEWNESS there is IN Christ, especially our SALVATION! We were dead; He made us ALIVE! We were blind in darkness; now we see in the LIGHT! We were children of wrath; now children of LOVE!

"New" refers to something COMPLETELY UNLIKE what it was before!!! (J. MacArthur)

Comment by: Danielle at August 4, 2007 6:03 PM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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