written for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
March 21, 2010, 10:45 a.m. service
by Diana R.G. Trautwein
We begin our prayer time this morning with words from the 43rd chapter of the prophet Isaiah, words that have long been read on this 5th Sunday in Lent:
This is what the Lord says - "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland...I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
O Lord, how we long for you to do a new thing in our midst.
How we long to see the way made in the wilderness,
the stream flowing through the wasteland.
For we are indeed your people,
formed to praise you.
And so we do:
We praise you that you are the God of new things,
that you are the God of wilderness way-making,
that you are the God of life-giving water
in the midst of life's wastelands,
that you are the God who reminds us
to 'forget the former things,'
because you are in the business of making all things new.
Start with us, please, Lord.
Start with us.
Make us new, inside and out.
Teach us to live as new creatures -
not because we're fad-hungry,
or driven to own the latest new device;
not because we're bored with life and need a new kick,
not because we're in need of a diversion.
Make us new because we need your transformational energy
at work within us in order to live as whole and holy people.
Make us new because we've worn out the old ways,
we've tried them repeatedly and learned the hard way
that they just don't work.
Make us new because we want to be people who radiate
the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus - that amazing multi-faceted,
lovely fruit-of-nine-sides that we've been looking at
all through this Lenten journey:
So...start with us in this making-new business.
Because if we're truly open to the newness
your Spirit can bring,
and if we truly live out of the fruit your Spirit grows in us,
then we can carry that newness into every situation
and relationship we find ourselves in -
whether that's our family home,
our dorm suite,
our place of business,
the grocery line,
the traffic jam,
the blog comments,
the political debate,
the kitchen at Transition House,
the table at Los Arroyos,
the well-worn beach path or hiking trail -
wherever our lives lead us -
we can bleed newness,
into our world.
So...we ask that your church worldwide might be
a sign of newness,
a whisper of beauty,
a word of kindness,
a presence of hospitality,
a ray of civility in an increasingly uncivil world.
Convict us when we fall short of this worthy goal;
convince us that we,
with you at work within us,
have the inside scoop on the hope this world needs;
consider that we are but dust - but then
continue the work of new creation even in our dustiness.
bless our very dusty political leaders who are, this very day,
engaged in such important decision-making.
Grant us peace in our civic discourse,
wisdom in our national decisions,
and grace with one another when the day is done.
Thank you, Great God of all things new,
for your everyday goodness and grace,
for your mercies which are new every morning
and which sustain us our whole life long.
In the name and for the sake of Jesus,
your son, who makes it possible for us
to be made new each and every day.