This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses [f]indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [h]he is a new creature;the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
8 Once every forty-nine years 9 on the tenth day of the seventh month,[a] which is also the Great Day of Forgiveness,[b] trumpets are to be blown everywhere in the land. 10 This fiftieth year[c] is sacred—it is a time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families. 11 This is a year of complete celebration, so don’t plant any seed or harvest what your fields or vineyards produce. 12 In this time of sacred celebration you may eat only what grows on its own.
13 During this year, all property must go back to its original owner. 14-15 So when you buy or sell farmland, the price is to be determined by the number of crops it can produce before the next Year of Celebration. Don’t try to cheat.16 If it is a long time before the next Year of Celebration, the price will be higher, because what is really being sold are the crops that the land can produce. 17 I am the Lord your God, so obey me and don’t cheat anyone.
One of the more positive themes in the bible is that of renewal or starting over. It encompasses Jubilee, the year when slaves were to be set free, property returned to its original owner, and debts were forgiven.
It encompasses the idea of blood or animal sacrifice, where the man who had committed wrong could feel forgiven and clean again through the penance of sacrificing one of his precious animals.
It is found in the prophet sitting in ashes and dust looking over a ruined city and a people at their worst moment in history and wondering if what was lost could ever be restored and finding faith in the idea of mercy and rebirth.
It is found in the tale of the lost sheep, the lost coins, the lost sons and a picture of God eagerly seeking restoration and reconciliation.
And it encompasses the idea of reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and the theme that we can have newness of life every day.
It is found in the ministry each of us is called to: reconciliation. Healing the sick, mending broken hearts, helping hurting people find hope.
That is one of the messages of the bible that still resonates with me. Failure is not fatal. That a setback is not final. That being down doesn’t mean you are out of the game. Ultimately, it is found in the doctrine of personal resurrection. That death isn’t the end, but like a seed that falls into the ground, when we die, something new and wonderful will come from this.
So rounding out another year on this rock orbiting a giant fusion reactor, we can have hope because tomorrow is not just a new year, but a new day full of opportunity for change and the hope of something new and wonderful.