01 January 2013

throughout all generations

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations."

So is the opening sentiment of the worshipper in Psalm 90, which continues to direct our attention to the grandeur of God in comparison to the futility of humanity.  Though we who are part of this world are bound to the movement of time and space, there is one who is eternal above it all.  While we look, with great uncertainty, to what we will face tomorrow, and consider all of the achievements we will amass for ourselves, the Almighty brings another day upon the world and ensures its care and sustenance, not overlooking the feeding of sparrows and the clothing of flowers.

Our recognition of a new year is surrounded by many traditions, including the laughable attempts at resolving ourselves to new behaviors which we never seem to keep, and look back at how embarrassingly simple they should have been.  Humanity tends to see a new year as something between an accomplishment and an opportunity, and we toast ourselves for the passing of time.  All the while we are reminded, by texts such as Psalm 90, that before the mountains were born or the world was brought forth that God was, from everlasting to everlasting.

A thousand years is an amount of time that we cannot really get our minds around, yet they pass by like a single day to the one who is eternal.  All of our nations and kingdoms rise and fall beneath his watchful gaze, and though we think of them as particularly significant, he knows that life will continue on for as long as he determines it should.  He is not concerned about those who believe in his existence, his sovereignty, or his interest.  The Almighty will patiently wait and watch for the generation which will listen to his voice and follow his command, never accommodating his holiness to those who choose instead to be consumed with their fallenness.

In this way he will be a dwelling place throughout all generations, if only his people will come to rest in his presence.  All our attempts to make a new year significant for itself, or for ourselves, fail without the acknowledgment of the one who transcends time and space and holds all creation together.  He alone gives life its significance and meaning, and he will not be usurped by any power or authority.  As we welcome the divine gift of another year, let us remember the context in which it is given, that we could take our place in the temple of this earth and participate in the presence of its Maker and King.

Happy New Year.

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