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Challenged by Newness: Saying Goodbye (2004-2005)

December 26th, 2004

“…I know that none of you will see my face again”

(Acts 20:26)

“Parting is such sweet sorrow…”

Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene ii

We are challenged by Newness! Paul told the Roman Christians: “…so we also might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). But, in order for there to be such newness, there must be a saying goodbye to what has become so familiar to us. When Paul said goodbye in Acts 20, we are told how his friends reacted: “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the word which he had spoken, that they should behold his face no more. And they brought him on his way unto the ship” (Acts 20:36-38). The ship of the New Year awaits even us. Of course Paul had to be on that ship. He could have stayed, we suppose, but that would have interfered with the master plan.

1. This Newness challenges us to dynamic, not static, living. The resurrection is the basis of such newness (Rom. 6:3-5)! It is “Westward leading / Still proceeding.” It is emergence from the deadness of the human condition. It is gospel defining and Christian aligning.
2. This Newness trades off instability for permanence and power (Rom. 6:9).
3. With this Newness, comes a life of grace (Rom. 6:13,14).

There’s a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor. Your name is on the manifest.

-Robert M. Housby

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