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Allowing For Renewal

Allowing For Renewal
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All was lost it seemed. Two men were engaged in thoughtful conversation as they headed home, walking down the road each carrying the burden of hopelessness. Their world had been crushed with the death of their teacher and mentor, someone who had turned their world upside down and given them a profound sense of renewal, perhaps even redemption. Now it was gone and the future looked bleak.

Maybe most of us have felt at one time or another the same gloomy sense of disheartenment, stemming from an unforeseen upheaval. Today’s concerns over politics and government, community relations, drug abuse, economy, and other highly-publicized issues can cause unwanted anxiety and lethargy. Or, maybe the worries are more personal in nature and solutions appear out of reach. What are the chances for recovery? Actually, they are good.

“Behold, I make all things new,” is a go-to assurance I often embrace when in need of refreshment. It comes from the Book of Revelation in the Bible.  When things seem stagnant or even spiraling downward, I know that revitalization is achievable.

While springtime brings with it a sense of rebirth (flowers blooming, trees sprouting new leaves, everything bathed in green and birds chirping), for many rejuvenation comes from a spiritual impulse tied to the observance of Easter.

The two men walking home were students of Jesus who had been crucified days earlier. Their gloom was about to be irrevocably transformed when a stranger (who turned out to be Jesus himself) approached. They allowed him to walk and talk with them the rest of the way and even invited him to have supper at the end of their journey. It was at this pivotal moment that they became aware of who the stranger was. This encounter is one of the first appearances of Jesus after his resurrection.

The men recount the experience this way: “Did not our heart burn within us.” They quickly left to tell the other students about their encounter with their risen Master/teacher. They were not only encouraged, but fortified. Thanks to Jesus’ loving reassurance they were ready to accept a transforming outlook on life’s vivacity and intensity.

Rather than thinking of Jesus’ resurrection only as a long-ago event, I also see it as having profound present-day impact. It is a renewing sense of good’s potential, a spiritualization of thought that contributes to reinvigoration to which anyone can avail themselves. When speaking of Jesus’ students, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dullness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities.” Doesn’t this speak to everyone today, no matter where we find ourselves, no matter our current circumstances? We too can grasp this vitality.

When I found myself at the end of what was then a life-long career, I was looking to jump-start my life and gain a better appreciation for what it means to “make all things new.” Having a spiritual appreciation for life, I began in prayer. I learned early on that any attempt at successful reasoning and revelation had to allow for the inclusion of Mind or God. I couldn’t do it on my own. In fact, as a Christian Scientist, I had come to the conclusion that God is actually the source of all intelligence and if I really wanted to experience renewal, I had to start there. I could not accept a belittled/diminished or helpless viewpoint of myself, nor could I be influenced by opinions about age and aptitude or other worldly categories of limitation.

The Bible puts it this way: “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; … put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” It didn’t take much deliberation to see what my next step was. My career path took a whole new direction, one I could not have anticipated. It was a fresh start for sure, and a daily sense of regeneration continues to this day as a result of this experience.

It can seem disorienting when contemporary society sends so many mixed signals as to value, worth, and personal ability. There seems ample opportunity to feel let down or put down by people, institutions and everyday experience. But just like the two men on their way home, when times seem particularly difficult on our own journey and setbacks would hamper our progress, renewal and restoration are immediately attainable through Love’s [God’s] grace.

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