A good friend of mine pointed out to me that in my preaching and praying in public I often use the word “anew.” At first I disagreed but then I thought about it and realized I really do. I use it all the time. I use it in prayers and in sermons. I am using it now in a newsletter. In short, I realized that I had become so accustomed to that word that it became my go-to phrase when praying or preaching extemporaneously (another good word). Perhaps it has become stale and repetitive. Perhaps I should move away from it, but although it might be stale, I cannot think of a better word to convey an important idea.
The definition of “anew” is as follows: in a new or different and typically more positive way. I believe this little word sums up the life of a disciple. God’s plan of salvation for the world is that human beings respond to the call God, accepting both the grace for forgiveness and the grace for becoming something better. I love this word, “anew.” It reminds me of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and promised return. It also reminds me of the presence of the Holy Spirit right here and now convicting, comforting, and transforming us. So much of the love of God is wrapped up in that little word and let us be honest, it makes prayers sound fancy!
On a serious note, we are living in a lot of difficulty today. For many the last year and a half has been extremely difficult, but I believe God will bring something anew out of this time. Nolensville First UMC has adapted to make worship more accessible and we are preparing for the future. We could hunker down and hold tight hoping to ride out this strange time, but instead we are prayerfully adapting and moving forward. We are trying new things and finding that even during these difficult times God’s grace keeps showing up. For me, personally, I have struggled to find ways to share the hope and love of God while also minimizing risks to others. I have spent more time in prayer than any time in my life previously. I have lamented. I have cried. I have worshipped and I have done my best to let God use me. This time has made me more sure about some very important things I would like to share with you: you see, God is always making things anew. God is not done with us. God is not done with you. So I have two questions I would like you to ponder with me this month:
Are you ready to let God make you anew?
Do you know of a better word than “anew” I can use to convey this idea to freshen up my prayers?
If so, feel free to let me know, LOL.
By God’s grace doing my best to love God and neighbor now,
Rev. Jimmy Hendricks