Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A New Creation, Today, Tomorrow, Forever

The Rev. Sheila McJilton
“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.” (Isaiah 43:19)

This past winter was challenging—bitterly cold, dark, snowy. Perhaps because the winter was so long and dark, the past three weeks has been more delightful: birds’ songs seem more joyful.
My hostas poke their heads out of the ground, and the pink blossoms on my tulip magnolia seem more intense. Several days ago, I noticed a row of pink tulips blooming along my driveway, and remembered that I had bought bulbs from the St. Philip’s Youth Group last fall. What a feast for my eyes as they open in the sun!

Recently, I have seen creation with new eyes. Over the past two weeks, I have spent much time working on a creative presentation of the Genesis Creation story in preparation for our Easter Vigil. I had invited parishioners to submit photographs and drawings for the different days of creation. When I received them, I was stunned. We have some fine photographers in this parish, and some travelers as well. There were exquisite pictures of scenery in New Zealand, animals in South Africa, flowers from the Patuxent River State Park, the coastline in Maine, mountains in the western part of the United States. There were also three drawings submitted by two of the children in the parish—one was “God resting on the seventh day,” and two others included a tiger behind a tree and a mermaid! 

As I was browsing through my computer, I happened to come across some pictures I had taken about four years ago, and decided to include them—to illustrate God’s creation of human beings. One was of a mother holding her baby daughter—a fiery red-head who is now a tall, blond six-year-old! Others were of children who are now older teenagers. As I looked at these pictures, I was struck both by how young they looked four years ago and how God is always re-creating what God has made. These children are the same people, yet they are not. In 2014, they are more of themselves than they were as babies or little children—the same names, the same personalities, the same gifts and talents—yet hopefully using more of those talents now! 

As the Easter Vigil slideshow progressed, I sensed that every person present was at rapt attention to what was unfolding before them. While there were some chuckles when the children’s images came up, there was also a sense of hushed reverence at God’s holiness and majesty. God is always doing a new thing in the wildernesses of our lives. Even out of the longest, darkest, snowiest winter, God is faithful, and new life bursts forth out of love. Thanks be to God, the streams in the wasteland have filled to wind their way across our hearts. In this Easter season, God continues to do new things in God’s creatures and creation. Alleluia!

The Rev. Sheila McJilton is the rector at St. Philip's, Laurel.