Did you ever have the experience of walking through your home filled with your favorite things and suddenly noticing something you have not really paid attention to for ages? That delightful surprise happened to me this week when I noticed an etched glass plaque given to me by the wife of an intern I had supervised in my role as Director of Spiritual Formation. Part of Cody’s responsibilities were to participate in and then teach the Apprentice of Jesus curriculum created by James Bryan Smith.* His wife joined him in this adventure.
Etched on the glass and surrounded by a bright white frame were the lyrics of a song with which we closed every session of every class of every year of that life-changing program: So be a New and Different Person. She had created it as a thank you when she and her husband left to serve their own church hundreds of miles away. Here are the words to that song:
So be a new and different person,
filled with his love,
and filled with his Holy Spirit
with a freshness and a newness in all the things you do
so be new!
I carried the etching into another room, sat at my work table, and read it over and over again. As I did, the experience of singing that song with fellow West Michigan Apprentices of Jesus during classes, conferences, and celebrations flooded over me. The words that reverberated for me now were the same words that filled my heart when I first heard the song. I was being directed by the Holy Spirit to live with freshness and newness; I was to become a new and different person,
The words hit home – hard. 2919 has already been difficult. My husband’s illnesses, the devastating cost of medications, the political atmosphere in the US and world-wide, my decreasing mobility – all have pummeled my spirit. It is now time to live with freshness and newness. It is time to allow the Holy Spirit to make me a new person – one filled with hope, not despair, with joy not sadness, with peace, not turmoil, with spiritual energy, not exhaustion.
So, let’s be new!
* The Apprentice of Jesus program is based on three books by James Bryan Smith: The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community, published by InterVarsity Press. I highly recommend them – as would the more than 200 participants in the program at Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan if you had the chance to ask them how their lives have been transformed.