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at Arizona State University - 340 E. 15th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281-6612 (480) 967-3543 (map)
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New Life

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, pastor

So, what exactly are we celebrating at midnight of New Year's Eve? (actually of New Year's Day).

Are we celebrating the hope of a new year full of possibility and opportunity? Or are we simply celebrating because we are glad the old year is behind us? 

Many cultures have rituals or even meals for the New Year that are to bring good luck for the coming year. Auld Lang Syne sings of old acquaintances being forgotten and never brought to mind. Apparently both leaving the old and embracing the new are cause for merriment.

Christians speak frequently and often superficially about new life. It is as though some kind of new life happens in some "hocus pocus...Presto!" sort of fashion. All that is needed are the correct words or proper behavior...not much different than a superstition. Often this new life seems to have no relationship with a previous, "old", life.  I'm not sure that is the biblical understanding of new life. 

Think of those in scripture who have been made new. Think of situations in scripture where something new has taken place. Always that which is new is yet tied to that which was old. Jesus, for example did not abandon his Judaism. Instead Jesus built upon it and took much of it back to God's original intentions. 

There is always a relationship between old and new. The new always builds upon that which has been.  So, at New Year's we do not have to chose between old and new. We do not have to forsake the old and look only ahead. Some years we may be grateful a difficult year has come to and end. Some years we may have reason to be anxious about what lies ahead. Other times we can rejoice and be glad for both what has been and what can be. What we can celebrate is that even in our worst year, God has been there down in the depths with us. And whatever may lie ahead, God is there with us and before us. Cause for celebration indeed!

Happy New Year!

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