Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beginning Again

I wish there were some wonderful place
called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
and all our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
and never put on again

Louise Fletcher Tarkington wrote those word years ago and yet those words still speak powerfully to hearts about this time every year. It's New Year's Eve. Out with the old and in the new. And that goes for more than calendars. Out with the old junk, the bad habits, the time-worn grudges. In with better things, healthier things. As Tarkington pined, "I wish there were some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again."

Well, there's no Land of Beginning Again, but there is the God of Beginning Again—the God of second chances, new births, and fresh starts, the God of grace and forgiveness and mercy that's new with every morning. He is the God of Beginning Again.

In his book The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan tells about a place in Gelph, Ontario. There's a riverside park there landmarked with large and intricate sculptures: a dinosaur, a man riding a bicycle, a child and his mother. But these are no ordinary sculptures. Each is made from the debris collected from the riverbed. Every year, the city drains the river by a system of channel locks, then invites people from the community to scour the river’s muddy floor and clean up the garbage scattered long it. A welter of refuse is dredged up: shopping carts, tires and rims, car hoods, baby strollers, bikes and trikes, engine blocks, rakes and shovels, urinals, copper plumbing, wine bottles, shoes, thousands of pop cans. Mountains and mountains of rust-scabbed rubbish, slick with algae, are hauled out. Rather than truck all this garbage off to a landfill, the city calls its sculptors together (though the pop cans are turned in for refund and the money donated to park conservation). Each artist is given a mound of junk and commissioned to make from it beauty. The created works are then showcased along the very river from which the raw materials have come.

God does that. He works all things together for good for those who love him and are called to his purposes. He takes junk and sculpts art. He is the God of Beginning Again.

There is no Land of Beginning Again, but there is a God of Beginning Again. So as you think about the changes you need in your life as we enter a brand new year, don't look for real estate; look for God—the God of Beginning Again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow John -- what a great image, God taking the junk in our lives and sculpting art. Thanks for getting me started well in this new year. You and Dana have a happy one!