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PASTOR’S CORNER

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Happy New Year!

heber overgaard az
Rev. Nick Wirtz
Faith Lutheran

Whether it’s anxiously awaiting the new iPhone 8’s arrival, or the newest episode of Star Trek, or replacing last year’s Harley, Cadillac, Porsche, or Desoto with THIS year’s model … we like NEW STUFF! You could say our culture is obsessed with “New” and “Young”. Maybe it’s because my students were ever faithful to remind me over the years that I was “old” (if I WAS old … what am I now?!) that I have become somewhat sensitized to the issue. You can no longer putz around under the hood of a modern car without an engineering degree in computer science … and when that computer goes kaput, so does the whole car! If your TV begins to wiggle between the lines, you can no longer pull the tubes and have ‘em checked to see which one to replace . . . you just go out and by a WHOLE NEW TV! It’s called “planned obsolescence”. Things, ideas, and relationships are these days by design made to break. Don’t FIX it; REPLACE it! We’ve forgotten how to take what we have when it isn’t quite working right and lovingly nurse it back to health. You need look no further than our current divorce rate for confirmation.

 

And in the midst of all of this … every year at this time (I am writing just days before December 31) we look forward to the “NEW Year”! Some of us have even been known to try to “tinker under the hood” of the “old year” by making resolutions … promises of how we will make or do things differently THIS year … and at the end of that year many of us find ourselves back in the same place come the next December 31. What we want every “new” year is change for the better in our lives. Sometimes it comes … and sometimes it doesn’t. One truth remains; as long as we try to fix the brokenness in our own lives with only our own broken efforts we will always be disappointed. Brokenness can only beget more brokenness. An “old” man cannot make himself “young” or “new”. That kind of change cannot come from within, but only from without. That kind of change cannot come from something broken, but only from something “whole”.

 

It was my joy to be swept up in this very process of making something “old” and “broken” into something “new” and “whole” … even “holy” just a few days ago on Christmas morning. I officiated over the baptism of a very new little baby in our congregation. As I poured the water I was commanded to pour and spoke the words I was commanded to speak I watched in awe and joy as The Holy One God and Savior of the world took this very new little baby fatally infected with the very old disease of sin and washed her clean, forgave her, and cured her. I watched as He made her NEW, WHOLE, HOLY and alive!

 

As I gave her back to her family I exhorted them to ever keep her mindful of the New Life she has in Christ, to instruct her in His Word and bring her faithfully into His presence, and to remind her of her baptism and how He made her “new” and KEEPS her “new” in it every day.

For those who are in Christ (have a relationship of faith in Him) every day is a new day. Every day is a day that HE can make new for them … make whole for them … make holy for them. Why wait until December 31 every year to try to make things new when, with Christ, EVERY day can be made new … even as every day WE can be made new, washed clean, forgiven, and given a new and clean, whole, and Holy life?

 

My prayer for you is that you not only have a Happy New Year, but that you have a Joyous New Life … Every Day in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)