It’s often said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” This may be true in some respects, but we Christians know in our bones that it’s also false. New things do emerge. New things can happen to us. God still speaks. The prophet Isaiah once said, “Arise, shine; for a new light has come.” He’s saying to us, “Even though we feel like we’re walking down old, dark paths, new light can still shine.” And as a matter of fact, that’s what Jesus’ teachings and ministry demonstrate for us too. Jesus tells us over and over again that the old always gives way to the new. And if we learn to follow him, our old, tired paths can be re-authored by the new light of Christ. I think there’s something here we need to get. God has something new for us this year . . . it just might be the growth of our faith or our renewed commitment to family or church. Whatever it is that your soul needs, the new light of Christ will show you. Just keep walking down those old paths, and let Jesus re-author them by shining new light.
January 6 | Matthew 2:1-12 | Old Wisdom. New Wisdom.
Today is Epiphany, the coming of the Wise Men to see and adorn baby Jesus as the Christ. In just twelve verses, we see quite the juxtaposition of old, worn paths being re-authored by new light. For instance, the Wise Men literally followed the light of a star in search of a new king. They met another group of “wise men” along the way. They were asked to walk down a certain geo-political path making sure to stay within the confines of the status-quo. Along the way, though, they feel the beauty of new light . . . and what happens next changes everything for us today.
January 13 | Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 | Old Life. New Baptism.
"Perhaps you’ve been walking down this old path of self-rejection for too long. The world’s voices have been leading you astray; but good news, they don’t have to anymore. God’s voice is cutting through the noise, and if we choose to listen, we’ll hear it saying, 'My child, you belong. I love you. And in you, I’m well pleased.'”
January 20 | John 2:1-11 | Old Customs. New Wine.
At a wedding in Cana, Jesus turns water into wine in order to “reveal his glory.” What I love about this passage is a parenthetical aside in verse nine: “When the steward tastes the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew) . . .” The servants knew. Those who serve alongside Jesus know. Those who listen and do like Christ tells them are able to see in their hearts the power and majesty of Jesus. The same is true for us.
January 27 | Luke 4:14-21 | Old Law. New Interpretation.
In Luke 4, Jesus is in Nazareth, his hometown. He shows up to the Synagogue and interrupts the worship service in order to read scripture. It is an odd theatrical moment for Jesus. He intentionally reads from Isaiah 61 and announces he has come to fulfill the prophecy of Jubilee. Through him, all people will be set free. There is much to learn from Luke 4, but even a surface reading showcases how Jesus intentionally takes an old understanding of law and re-interprets it in a new light.
February 3 - Joint Service | Jeremiah 1:4-10 | Old Fear. New Calling.
Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet. He resists such a call at first not feeling particularly capable for such a task. God reminds him, “Do not be afraid. I am with you to deliver you.” I am particularly sure that we feel a lot like Jeremiah still today. God calls us to rebuke what needs rebuking, plucking what needs plucking, but we feel particularly incapable. A good lesson to remember is the same as Jeremiah, “God goes with us and delivers us when we need it.”
February 10 | Luke 5:1-11 | Old Habits. New Consciousness.
Jesus directs the disciples to put their nets in the water. Peter responds, “We’ve been fishing all night. We’ve caught nothing. No offense but it won’t matter if we do it again. But if you say so, we will.” So they did, and they caught more fish than their boat could hold. By the time they got to shore, it dawned on all of them that with Jesus, we can go down old paths and still experience new light. Because of this, they drop everything and follow him.
February 17 | Deacon Ordination | Luke 6:17-26 | Old Guard. New Power.
Luke 6 is Luke’s version of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. These rhythmic verses showcase that the old, difficult paths of being poor, hungry and persecuted are in fact the path that leads to the kingdom of heaven. But the old paths of the rich, prideful and fortunate are cursed to never see the light of Christ. We’d do well to hear from these powerful words again . . . and perhaps repent.
February 24 | Luke 6:27-38 | Old Teachings. New Lessons.
Pray for your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Turn the other cheek. Give to those who beg. These re-interpretations of the old teachings and customs must be noticed. Jesus is blatantly shining new light on old, worn paths.
March 3 | Isaiah 60:1-6 | Old Paths. New Light.
“Arise. Shine. A new light has come. It is from God and it is leading us down old paths.” These ancient words from the prophet Isaiah still ring true today, and they remind us of the truth that something new can in fact happen under the sun. And when we have the eyes to see the radiance of God shining on our old paths, we too “shall proclaim the praise of the Lord” (Is 60:6).