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We are starting over. The new year always seems to feel like that. We have put up the brand new calendar with clean spaces on the days marking 2015. Some of us sang “Auld Lang Syne” to welcome the new year. A few have even made some new promises they hope to keep into the year ahead. There is something exciting about starting over. It reminds me of the apostle Paul’s language about our experience as being disciples of Jesus Christ. “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, they are a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) To me the newness is like having the chance to begin again, to start over, to have another chance to “get it right.” I think of the feeling I would have when I was playing golf. That first hole I was full of hopes. This would be the day I don’t drive into the rough. This would be the day I don’t three putt. This would be the chance to break 90! (I was not a very good golfer.) Full of hope teeing off that first hole. Unfortunately by the 4th or 5th hole, I was already disappointed. My usual self showed up, so I was having to scramble just to make sure I did not lose any more golf balls! New beginnings often don’t last long. Like the resolutions we make as our year began, the “old self” shows up, and the habits we were determined to break seem to win out. By the month of February, we have forgotten what we promised as a new year began. And as disciples of Jesus, we wrestle with the same frustration and temptation. Something we hear from a sermon, or a story of some need that we hear about on television, or an invitation someone sends us to “get involved” in something we believe is worthwhile. We believe we could do that. The “love of neighbor” is a part of what we understand to our being a Christian. It would give us a chance to start over on something we believe is important. There are commitments we make that can be life-changing! BUT, the old self takes over. The “old things” have not passed away. The “new” has not taken hold. And so it goes. To me, the good news is that it doesn’t end there. The grace of our Lord blesses us with many opportunities for new beginnings – for starting over. Sunday mornings, for example – confession of sin and the challenge we hear through the Word and the closing charge to us. It is a new week. It is never too late to start over. A new creation in Christ. Bob McQuilkin, rmcquilkin@charter.net