It is no secret that most, if not all of us, love things that are new, especially if it means improved aesthetics. It is as if we have this insatiable desire for “newness”, regardless of whether it is necessary in the first place (think new phones, new shoes, new beginnings, etc).
In my church, we had been anticipating the completion of renovations to the service hall (we just had our first service in the new hall last month). We looked forward to the scent of newness, the bigger spaces, and the feeling of being a part of something brand new, yet familiar at the same time.
I sometimes wonder if newness is something we should be craving. Why are we in love with the idea of having things that are fresh and exciting? Could it mean that the things which were once “new” to us have lost their value or significance over time?
Perhaps the longing we have for something better and new started way back in the days immediately after the fall. In the book of Romans, Paul wrote that since the fall, we as creation have been constantly desiring something better—a rescue from our worsening physical and spiritual condition.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” —Romans 8:22-23
Redeemed bodies, where we will be made perfect and devoid of any flaw and defect. That’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? So by the Bible’s standard, wanting something new in and of itself is not wrong. The question then is what “newness” are we after? Is it the novelty of owning a new material possession? Or is it the “new heaven”, “new earth”, “new bodies” that God promises?
It is an ongoing challenge to not be distracted by the things and ideals of this world that may at times make the ancient words of the gospel seem irrelevant and outdated. But let’s continue to keep our focus on the promise of eternity with our God and Creator.
This New Year, may each of us reflect on that first instance we came to the Faith, cling on to the reason for it and never forget it. Let our desire for “newness” come with an eternal perspective—to see each other again in Heaven, to be united with our loved ones in new bodies, and to be together at last with Him who loved us first!
Yet never could find,
Always seeking, never seeing,
What have I been chasing?
Empty things, empty dreams,
Is there any in the world,
That would satisfy?
I stood there remembering,
The day I came with nothing,
Yet filled to the brim by my Lord,
Holding fast to the promise of God,
As I continued waiting,
Anticipating . . .
Newly renovated Church Hall | Photo taken by Shawn