New Life comes from New Beginnings
O Holy Mystery, meet me in the changes of this New Year, those that will cause me to pause, those that will invite me to something much bigger, carry me to those places of safety where you will hold me dear until I become accustomed to the newness all around me …
The promise of new beginnings. They do not just start at the beginning of a New Year. They can occur as a move to a new city, a new job, a change in one’s medical diagnosis, the loss of a loved one. In Scripture, there are stories that abound with God’s offer to people a new beginning, another chance at doing something great. God frees the oppressed, Jesus heals and restores and the Holy Spirit imbues new life.
“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Be alert! Be present! Pay attention to all that is going around you for I am making something brand new! So, what new beginning am I experiencing right now? What is before me, wanting attention?
When we are facing a new path or are in a new state of mind, it’s human nature to want to make some resolutions. We would like to have a new perspective in our approach. But let’s look at those resolutions – are we trying to be someone different or are we trying to be true to ourselves? When Jesus offers a new beginning, he’s asking us to be our best selves. Can I claim my own identity, given by God?
When we are looking at new beginnings, opportunities might arise for us to look at what we are holding onto. Sometimes, these leftovers from our past are holding us back from being our best selves. They are holding us tightly and we are unable to move forward. Or perhaps, we don’t even know we are holding tight to our opinions, our thoughts – and how they are stopping us from getting closer to God. So, let’s take a look: What do I need to loosen my grip on? At this point in my life, what is not helping me in my journey? Who/what can help me realize my hopes?
Throughout our lives, meaningful relationships are formed – some persons become friends, others pass in and out of our lives, bringing wisdom when we need it and others, we may never see again. When we are looking at the above facets of our lives looking at our friendships can be very important. These are persons who have stood with us at critical moments of our lives; trusting individuals that have walked with us. Which of my friends can assist me in my journey?
Included in this process is our looking at our personal relationship with God; our Higher Power, Divine Being. Just where are we in nurturing that relationship? This past year might have had us focused on other areas of our lives, trying to recapture the last two years of COVID-19 living, or simply trying to do our best in our every day-to-day living. Remembering that the Divine goes with us, wherever we go. God, being in all things, is never left behind. The God we know is moving with us, into the future, into those new beginnings – waiting for us to accept and move with these new and hope-filled beginnings. “See, I am doing something new!”
So, let us move forward to these new beginning with a prayer attributed to St. Teresa of Avila:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
Thank you, Laura, for your presence among us and your gift of faithfulness to the Faithful One.
Thank you, Mary. I am thankful for what you continue to teach me and for your presence within the church.
Thank you, Laura. The reflection questions you offer seem good not only for today but everyday of 2023. Happy 2023 to you.
Your reflection was just what I needed to hear today. And thanks for the lovely prayer from St. Teresa of Avila. May your New Year be richly blessed too.
Laura, your reflection reminds me of your first words to us as we were discerning leadership during our last chapter: “I will carry you.” It is clear that you have allowed the Holy to do just that and that you invite us to open ourselves to the same relationship of relying on the power of love to support us in our efforts to be Providence to our wounded world. Thank you.