Fall welcomes the onset of a new school year. New beginnings – hopefully. A chance at a fresh start – hopefully. And while these are things people with the school year look forward to, these are also things others of us hope to embrace, too.
New beginnings have me wonder about life’s reset button… I wonder in what areas of life each of us could use a new beginning or a fresh start.
It reminds me of playing video games as a kid. I wanted to go through each level perfect, without missing any points and without sustaining damage. Basically, I wanted to engage, yet remain untouched, untarnished, and unaffected by both the nefarious and benign elements along the way. And if this didn’t happen, I would hit the reset button. If something less than stellar happened, I would hit the reset button. If I played below what I expected, I would hit the reset button.
I wonder how the hope or desire for a ‘fresh start’ influences our lives. We are not naïve enough to think we can journey through life perfectly and untarnished. However, I wonder how many times we had hoped to go through a day or even just an event without getting tarnished.
While the start of a new school year (or a new year in January, or a new summer in June, or a new sport season beginning, or a new fiscal year, or whatever ‘new beginnings’ you may anticipate) may offer some sort fresh hope, we know the “clean slate” won’t last long. At some point there will be something (or multiple things) that happens that will have us yearning for a reset button. Something– either what we’ve done or what someone has done to us – either nefarious or benign – that will have a crave a fresh start.
On our faith journey we may wish we had a reset button, too. But we don’t. The Christians scriptures hold no promise that says we can make it through this life untarnished or untouched by the world. In fact, the stories of Jesus encourage people to engage people and situations in the world, even if it happens to get a bit messy or out of control. Jesus does not promise a reset button. Instead, Jesus promises presence – that we will never have to get dirty alone. Further, God promises us a chance to be made new and transformed.
In the book of Lamentations, a besieged community – a beat up, tarnished, and exiled group of folks – proclaims the hope of those who follow God on a faith journey:
“I can’t help but remember and be depressed, but I call this to mind, and in this I hope. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; God’s mercy never comes to an end! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness, LORD.”
We do not have a reset button that allows us to wake up like nothing bad has ever happened. However, we have a hope that God’s love for us never ends, that whatever has been done to us or we have done is not beyond the scope of God’s love, forgiveness and healing. We do not have a reset button. Instead, we have the promise of unfailing love – we have the promise of always receiving forgiveness. We have the hope that we never have to be alone alone. This is Good News. In this we can Hope.
I wonder, in what areas could you ask God to know and experience God’s love and mercy in new ways so that you might know fresh hope today, and every day… I wonder how you may need to know God’s presence today.