It’s the third day of 2017, and on New Year’s Day itself I delivered a message at FPC Lakeland entitled, “So this is the New Year?” (The video is embedded below in case you missed it). The title comes from a line in a song by the band Death Cab for Cutie and their album Transatlanticism. This is one of my favorite records for a lot of reasons, and this was probably one of the most popular songs from that album. I think it was popular because not only is it a song with a driving beat and catchy accessibility, but because it touched on a longing for something more in the face of the mundane… that longing for success or escape when life is ordinary. It’s a longing we all face at some point. It’s a longing that often reaches its pinnacle at a time like New Years which promises so much hope for the future.
But it’s a hope that often fails to produce results.
Now, I didn’t reference the song in my message on Sunday, but the reflective and implied question of the song resonated with me: will anything be any different? Will 2017 be any different than the 2016 we are leaving behind? As I stated in the message, I hope so. 2016 was a difficult year both from a personal standpoint and on an international and national level. There were personal failures and relational strife. I mourned with people and felt the sting of spiritual failure. Watching the news was an exercise in managing large-scale grief with the constant flow of terrorist attacks and social/political rhetoric.
Yet as a believer in Jesus Christ I know that our unchanging God is the one who promises his people, “Behold I am making all things NEW!” It is a promise that out of the darkest night can come the brightest dawn. It is a promise that out of the garbage heap of reality comes the treasure of salvation. It is a promise that from the crucifixion comes the resurrection. It’s a promise that while there will be conflicts, battles, and even wars in our lives God is the one who fights with us and for us, and he will have the victory.
In this first week of 2017 reflect on a Scripture passage like Psalm 98 and ask: as I prepare to “sing a new song to the Lord” this year, how have I seen God show up and be victorious in my life? Let that reflection remind you of the hope that never fails and always fights, even to the cross.