Word of the Month

Renewal

March 2008

Renewal plays a special role in nature. In many regions things begin to look bare in winter, and life seems to die out. But in spring there is a renewal: everything awakens to new life. Renewal is a repetitive and constant process. It happens every year.

Apostle Paul refers to the notion of renewal fairly often in Holy Scripture. Renewal has to do with repentance and a change of heart: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” it says in one passage (Romans 12: 2). And another passage states: “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4: 16).  

And here is the motto that I would like to derive from this: “Let us renew our inner being day by day.” May that be our task!

The first thing we must always renew is our orientation toward the day of the Lord. We cannot simply set our course for this event once and be done with it. If we stop renewing our orientation, it will become weaker day by day. And soon we will be so deeply mired in all our natural affairs that we no longer have any time for the Lord.

A second point that must be renewed is our conviction: “The Lord is coming!” This must live in our hearts, but it will not remain there automatically.

A third element that must be renewed is our joy in the Lord and His work. Often we are overwhelmed by first one thing, then another, and then a third, and suddenly we find that we have lost all joy. But how can we renew our joy in the Lord? By being involved in the work of God and wanting to be completely integrated into it! The important thing is that we remain faithful and do our part. Let us remain in the centre of God’s work and thereby constantly renew our joy!

The peace in our hearts must also be renewed. Who among us could claim their hearts were always filled with peace? There are so many disturbing factors which can rob us of our peace. Maybe something has annoyed us. So how do we renew our peace? The best way is through the divine service: let us absorb the word and grace of the Lord. This will support renewal.

The will to overcome must also be renewed. In order to do so we must take a moment to come away from the various things which burden us. Our fellowship must likewise be renewed. Every fellowship is subject to certain fluctuations. Here and there it can certainly happen that the mood is disturbed, that the joy disappears, and that people no longer get along as well.

Finally there is one last point that must be renewed, namely the desire to pass along that which we have received. In other words, we must renew our will to testify to others! It is always amazing to see how many people are still receptive to this kind of message. Whether or not they will come and, if they do, whether they will stay and join the community is up to them. This is something each one must decide for himself.

The source of power for our renewal is the Holy Spirit. In the field of ecology there is an interesting concept known as “renewable energy”. Ten years ago practically no one had heard of the term, but today it is a household expression. Renewable energy sources are the kinds that are not depleted when utilised. Examples include wind and water. The Holy Spirit is also such a renewable energy source. Wherever the Holy Spirit reigns, nothing is depleted, but there is sufficient power for renewal. Let us utilise this power and be wise enough to transform ourselves in this sense through the renewal of our mind!

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)