2018 January

Crosby Pastoral Letter January 2018

Dear Friends

I have been wondering about the word ‘new.’ In our culture, this is the season for newness: in the shops there are new deals, consumer goods are new (and improved), resolutions are made so that we can turn over a new leaf, we wish each other a happy and healthy new year, we renew our covenant with God. Given that January is in the depths of winter, with very little around in nature that is young and fresh, where does this attitude of newness come from?

The word ‘new’ is in fact very old. In Old English it was neoweniowe, or even earlier niwe, meaning new, fresh, recent, novel, unheard-of, different from the old; untried, inexperienced. If you are a language geek like me, it is interesting to discover that, from the earliest times, a recognisable version of the word pops up all over the world: Old Saxon niuwi, Old Frisian nie, Middle Dutch nieuwe, Old High German niuwl, Sanskrit navah, Persian nau, Hittite newash, Greek neos, and Latin novus.

This phenomenon raises an interesting question. How come the concept of ‘new’ and the language used to describe it is so commonplace and so ancient?

One of the things about God which I often hear mentioned is the idea that God does not change. As our culture and society seems to be continuously in a state of flux, there is reassurance and comfort to be found in the notion of a God that is the same, yesterday, today and for ever. “Everything changes but God changes not; the power never changes that lies in His thought,” as the old Sunday School hymn used to go. However, if by that thought we imply that with God nothing is ever new, then we are doing the Creator of the Universe a huge disservice. From our own life, we know that nothing remains the same. The changing seasons, growing older, the passing of time, the discovering of new truths, the adventure of the Christian life… none of these leave us the same as before. New knowledge and experiences make a difference. The very stuff of the universe is not constant. Nothing stays the same. It seems that change is built into the very fabric of creation.

Given this, I wonder what is the new thing (fresh, recent, novel, unheard-of, different from the old thing) that you have recently discovered about God, and what new (untried, inexperienced) activity that might lead you to undertake in 2018? Perhaps God does not change, but encountering God does change everything.

God says, ‘Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:18-19

May 2018 be a year in which we perceive the new things God is doing among us.

God’s grace and peace to you

Sheryl Anderson

Page last updated: 25th March 2019 11:45 AM