One memorable Easter Saturday long ago, I stayed up through the night. When the night was at its darkest I went for a walk, a long walk, and ended up greeting the dawn several miles away, sitting on top of a children’s climbing frame in a municipal park.
The fact that I remember this so vividly testifies to the power of its impression. It was not just a new day dawning (and that is always wonderful enough), but it was The Day, the day of resurrection, of Jesus stirring out of death, shaking off the grave clothes and becoming totally new. Did He yawn and stretch, and smile?
Shannon L. Alder wrote that “All great beginnings start in the dark, when the moon greets you to a new day at midnight.”
That is to say, at the very point of deepest darkness, there is the possibility of a brand new beginning. John described Jesus (in John 1) as ”light shining in the darkness” and the other Gospel writers spoke of Him offering a new start to those who came to Him.
God doesn’t invite you to turn over to a new page, nor even start a new chapter. As Anthony Liccione put it, “Rather than turning the page, it’s much easier to just throw the book away.”
The Bible describes it as “new birth,” a phrase sometimes blunted by familiarity. But the same powerful metaphor prevails, of a journey into the unknown, of darkness into light, from the familiar to the unexpected.
And this is the picture that Paul paints of someone who turns to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, he writes:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Some may be overwhelmed by the sheer scariness of what’s being proposed here. A whole new life? Doesn’t that mean giving up who I am, my comfortable old self?
Yes. And no.
C.S.Lewis explained it brilliantly: “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
Do you remember that moment in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy steps out from the wreckage of her farmhouse, looks earnestly at her little dog and says, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Life awaits you. Step out. Step in.