- Peter Hiett
- 2003 10 Oct
In every new experience, we hope for fulfillment and ecstasy. We may even taste it for a moment, but then it gets old.
Church gets old. New people will sometimes say, "Oh, I'm so glad we found this church. The worship, the preaching, the programs!" And I wonder, Will they leave when it gets old?
Religion gets old. At the time of the Revelation, Judaism was thousands of years old and had become cynical and dead, so dead that Jerusalem had murdered the Messiah.
People get old. How many times have you met someone and thought, "This person has it all together." Then what was new about them gets old. What is that makes a thing old?
On a physical level, it's when a thing decays and breaks down-entropy.
On a personal level, things get old when they get old to us, when we think we have them figured out, when there's no mystery left...no wonder, no newness. People's physical bodies get old, and when we think we have them figured out, the get old to us. For some, God is old news and not wonderful, because they think they have God figured out. The higher the percentage of things you have figured out in your world, the older you are, the older your world is, and the closer it is to dead. A toddler has nothing figured out, and everything is wonder-full.
Decay and a loss of wonder makes things old. In short, anything in time (chronos) gets old.
We all want the new and wonderful, but the older we get, the more we know that new gets old. So we get cynical. We all want the new, but we're all fearful of the new, because to get the new is to lose the old (that was new).
So we say:
"Give me that old-time religion! It's good enough for me."
"Careful of that new stuff."
"Play it safe."
"Stay at home."
So then, somewhere in life we switch strategies: We give up on the new and hang onto the old. Instead of a new house, we want a home. Instead of longing for new experiences, we guard the old. But just as the new becomes old, we can't stop the old from being replaced by the new. We cannot stop time.
Sometimes I drive by the house were we grew up in Littleton and think, You can never go home. Dad will never work in that yard again while I play in my fort, while Lydia and Rachel play with the rabbit, and while Mom makes fried mushroom sandwiches in our kitchen with the mustard yellow countertops and the avocado refrigerator. I'll never go home. Then I want to grab my dad and hang on, because he's 84 with heart trouble and a lung disease. But like they say; "You can't go home."
The folks in the seven churches in Asia Minor were probably mostly the Diaspora (dispersed Jews). Jerusalem was their real home: Abraham, the Exodus, David, Solomon, the exile...the twelve tribes and also the twelve apostles...the temple, where they met God, and where John and memories of meeting Jesus. Jerusalem was history, energy, and religion for two thousand years, and in A.D. 70 the Romans laid siege to it. They plowed the temple into the ground. All that energy gone, laid waste...all that labor in vain. They must have though, "You can never go home."
I remember when my bride came down the aisle. I was afraid-that the new would get old, that the old was being replaced by the new; that is, I wasn't going home. In fear, hanging on to the past and worried about the future, I almost missed the bride coming down the aisle. I remember thinking to myself, "Stop it! Stop worrying! Live this moment. Don't miss this moment. Live now!"
The "now" is what is actually new. And if I don't live in the now (which is new) it will never be the old. I won't have the new or the old, and I will have never lived. And I will have missed the bride coming down, because I was preoccupied with fear. And at the end of our marriage she will say, "Depart! I never knew you. You never made our house a home."
Now is when I can know another.
Now is when I live.
Now is when I make choices.
Now is when I create.
Now is when the new is created into the form of the old.
Now is when I enjoy a gift or make a home or see a bride.
Now is the moment eternity touches time.
Scientist say that if we traveled at the speed of light, all time would be eternally present; all past and all future would be eternally new; all old would then be forever new...at the speed of light.
God said, "Let there be light...Moses, my name is I AM...Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation."
Jesus means, "God saves," and Jesus said, "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10): eternal life: new life; a life of newness.
At His cross Jesus redeems every page of our book, every moment of our lives. He makes all things new. When we're with Him in each moment, we live new.
Recently I had a burrito with my dad. He's getting pretty old and I worry that one day he may die. But though he's getting old, I remember one moment looking into his eyes. He was so excited and animated and grateful about something, and, well, he just seemed so ...new. Maybe he's not totally living in time.
My bride just turned 42. But to me she's more new and wonderful than ever. She's still coming down that aisle.
An excerpt taken from Eternity Now (Integrity, 2003), written by Peter Hiett.