Friday, July 7, 2017

Never Changing

Every year, I read the Bible all the way through. Preachers in pulpits all across the world preach from the same liturgies. The seasons of Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Advent, Christmas, etc. come just at the same time, just as they always do. And it doesn't take long for even Christians to grow weary of this seemingly-cyclical faith. 

Always the same things, always the same times. Always the same words. Always the same stories. Always the same God. 

It seems like a recipe for complacency. It seems like a recipe for reduced effort. It seems like a very good reason why we should all only have to do all of this stuff once - read the Bible once, hear the sermons once, celebrate the seasons once. After all, if our God is never changing, why bother to do it more than once?

Because our never-changing God is also always new. That is His beautiful paradox.

Every time I read the Bible, I discover something new inside of it. Not because God is somehow changing, but because I am. Because something catches my heart in this season of life that went right past me last season. When I hear that sermon for the fourth time, my life is different than the first time I heard it (I hope), or even the second or third. So something new jumps out at me. When the Advent season predictably begins again, I find that for different reasons, I'm ready for a season of anticipation and waiting.

But it's not just that my life changes. It's not just that my circumstances are different. Some things about our never-changing God are just simply new.

He's never worked in the world in precisely the same way He works in it today. How could He? He's never had this world to work in until exactly now. He's never spoken in the voices that He speaks through today. How could He? They haven't lived before now. He's never done precisely the thing He's doing today because until this very moment, today didn't exist. And so our never-changing God is always new. His completely-predictable character is always engaged in entirely-unpredictable love. 

Isn't that amazing? 

So I listen because I hear His voice differently, and I speak because He's speaking anew through mine. I pray because I seek Him in different ways, and I'm comforted because He comes to me in radically unexpected ways. I worship because my heart sings a different song depending on what's going on in my life, and He floods my heart with praise in the most beautiful way that's never been done before because until this life, He's never had my heart to work with. 

Christians are so easily bored by our liturgies, so easily wearied of our ruts and routines. But there's absolutely nothing boring or weary about our God. There's nothing so old that it's not made new in every breath, nothing so predictable that it can't take our breath away in an unexpected moment. Nothing so routine that it can't echo fresh through a voice that God has never used before. Never used because this moment is its own, and God is doing something radically new in it.

He always has. He still is. He forever will. 

Our never changing God, who is always doing a new thing. 

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