Thursday, January 4, 2007

Same ’Ol, Same ’Ol

Will the new year be just more of the same old thing? Do we keep making new year’s resolutions every year only to once more end up not keeping them? Will all of our hopes and dreams turn out to be nothing more than the same ’ol, same ’ol?

The new year always brings a new start. New opportunities. A fresh beginning. But doesn’t the passage of time end up leaving us feeling like we’re stuck in a rut? We end up making the same mistakes. The same old things still annoy us. We keep running into a lot of the same problems.

Are our lives nothing more than the same ’ol, same ’ol? How depressing, if so. Then what’s there to get excited about with the new year?

Or how about church? Do we come to worship looking for something new and exciting because our lives are filled so much with the same ’ol, same ’ol? And yet, what do we hear, Sunday in, Sunday out? The cross. Christ crucified for our sins. We do the same things over and over. The same liturgy, the same Lord’s Supper; like clockwork. The confession of sins is the same, and the same absolution is spoken without change.

We confess the same creeds over and over. We hear proclamation of the Word that never varies in the core message of salvation in Christ and Him crucified.

Is our worship nothing more than the same ’ol, same ’ol? Talk about depressing! Why would we want the time where we want to be spiritually refreshed to be a ho-hum experience? Does God want it to be this way for us?

So do we chuck what we do and come up with something new and exciting every week so that our worship can be more spiritually exuberant? Well, would we do that in our daily lives? Some do, of course. Some who go through a mid-life crisis chuck their responsibilities and act like they’re a teenager again.

We can agree that that’s not a good thing. Nor would it be in the church. If worship seems to us at times like it’s the same old thing, our sinful flesh is trying to convince us we’re going through a spiritual mid-life crisis and we need to get out of the rut! We need excitement! Thrills! Not the same ’ol, same ’ol.

And that Old Adam of ours is pretty persuasive. We don’t want to appear or feel like we’re not spiritually renewed. But there’s a reason God sticks with the “same ’ol, same ’ol”, so to speak. It’s because that’s how He delivers the goods. He doesn’t do it willy-nilly. He doesn’t do it in new and exciting ways. He doesn’t keep changing the rules on us.

With the means of grace He’s given to us—the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper—He delivers to us spiritual renewal. In these things He forgives our sins. Through these means He strengthens our faith and revitalizes us. Here, and no where else that we can be sure of, He raises us to new life and equips us to serve Him.

And a lot of the time we’ll be serving Him in the same old ways we’ve been doing. It won’t always seem exciting. But it will be new life in the very same God who loves us and who gave His Son for us at Calvary and who continues to bring Him to us in our Baptism and in Holy Communion.

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