Guest post by Alex Cook
In order to live our way successfully from the now into the next we must conceive of ourselves as being on a journey. We must see ourselves as being on a robust and demanding road that leads from what we have known, into what we don’t yet know.
Certainly, if any of us were setting out on a trip like this we would want to bring with us all the best tools. We would bring appropriate clothing, supplies, food, money – all the things we could think of. And in this metaphor that means bringing with us all the best ideas we have. Best practices, best spiritual insights, best models of behavior, best qualities.
The wonderful thing about being on a journey with God is that in addition to all the tools we bring with us, God is always giving us brand new tools that fit perfectly with the needs we encounter along the way. The Bible quotes God as saying “Behold, I make all things new”. We must be willing to accept that new ideas will come to us, and they will be God’s provision for our journey.
As a kid growing up in a CS Sunday School I didn’t relate to the music in church. It wasn’t speaking a language I understood. I couldn’t get anything from it. (Thankfully, as an adult I have come to see and feel its goodness and utility much, much more!) So, several years ago it was a deep delight to me, to find that my creative world was revealing to me that I could create music that would speak about the deepest and best spiritual ideas I knew of, AND include the best, most expressive musical and poetic ideas I could arrive at. It was a revelation. Just as language evolves naturally over time so must our expressions of church and spirituality.
I have come to see that this is not a choice. It is God who makes all things new. It is not we who get to choose whether or not to make one or two things new. It is God who makes them ALL new.
When I began making this music I thought, like everyone else who heard it, that it would be the youth in the CS movement who would most get into it. But, in the following years of performances it was fascinating to see that what was really happening was very different. In fact, the most powerful responses that I have come across have been from an older group of Christian Scientists who were LONGING (and some didn’t even know it!) for the beloved ideas of Christian Science to be expressed in a new way. It has been moving to me to see and feel the way this music has found some people – like water in a parched land. The journey began with one thought, but revealed a different success along the way.
One of the realities of being an artist is that you have an idea you know is good, and then you have to show others why it’s good. Sometimes people think it’s actually bad, only because it is new! Anyone bringing a heartfelt new idea sometimes finds themselves in that case. But it’s good because it causes us all to be patient and demonstrate new love for our ideas, willingness to stand for what we truly believe in, and learn unselfishness.
How do we know which new ideas will be useful and which won’t? We can only do our best. Just as in music there are songs we remember from decades past, and countless others we don’t. Eddy says that sincerity is more successful than genius or talent. We must be sincere, and sacrifice ego and opinion for the sake of recognizing the new, holy ideas that God is providing.
Also published on Alex’s blog here: http://thevoiceandthesong.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-can-we-be-made-new.html