“Here and there in the world, and now and then in ourselves, is a New Creation.” - Paul Tillich
“It's a new day. Everything will change. We will never be the same.” - David Crowder
Year by year, I grow more to love that Christianity expresses the paradoxes that are the reality of our lives. These are the impressive truths of our faith. That mankind is cruel and magnificent. That life is incredibly simple and hopelessly complex. That the world is dying all around, yet being renewed day by day.
It may be part of the nature of things here that this last observation is exemplified. Many are the days when, at my utmost optimism without abandoning realism, I can only say with Paul Tillich that goodness and newness are peeking through “here and there”. It does take a certain set of eyes to see even that much, but I believe that agreement with this can be found more or less empirically. It's a humble acknowledgment, and beautiful in its honesty and humility.
And yet the promises of Jesus loom large. They would be embarrassing if they weren't so utterly lovely. “I am making all things new,” he says. All things? Not just “here and there” and “now and then”? The deep joy this fosters rings true, but it also forces me to reckon with the worst tragedies. I won't rehash the details here, but you know the stories. You are making this new? Here?
And so we live in expectation. Maybe even paradox. But if the story of the bible – it's depiction of God's character, it's worldview, it's overarching redemptive story – is to be believed, then it may be true. Maybe even this can be reconciled.
Think of Abraham. God delivers an embarrassingly large promise. Leave your home. Go to the place I will show you. Your descendents will be like the stars in the sky. Abraham goes. And he dies in a foreign land with one promised son, his only inheritance a cave to bury his wife, for which he was charged an extortionate fee.
Did the promises fail? No. And yet, though Abraham looked forward to their fulfillment, he didn't see it. But we have. We have seen it come to pass, and it is marvelous in our eyes. All peoples are blessed. His descendents are without number.
And thus was the New Creation always present, everywhere, but peeking through to our eyes, only now and then.
Hope requires faith, but it need not be unfounded. For if it was true of the promises to Abraham, then maybe it is true now, in some way that can be looked forward to, but not yet seen, for now only popping up now and then, through some brief rent in the curtain.
Then, one day...
So, may our eyes be blessed, that we might see the New Creation, here and there, now and then. And may our hearts be blessed with faith that we might believe, through these small glimpses, in an ever-present reality of Jesus our Savior making all things new.