“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV)
Every New Year’s Day I remember the church services I used to attend on this special day as a child. They were services marked by sincere dedication. A year had passed. It was now being put behind, and ahead there was something fresh and unspoiled. Prayers and songs were about starting afresh, about new opportunities and about dedicating oneself to the new and unseen.
Not the least I remember the poem by Nils Bolander. Referring to the turn of the year, it tells about someone who sees a sheet of paper, full of serious spelling mistakes and linguistic errors. A “Contemplator” asks who the bungler is, ‘who wrote this awful page’, which so obviously was marked “unacceptable/failed”. To his great consternation, the “Contemplator” discovers that the bungler is he himself, and the clumsy written page is a reflection of his life during the past year. Then he sees a hand holding out “a new dazzling white, blank sheet” – his coming new year.
And at this point the “Contemplator” falls down before the Master, who handed him the blank page and begs: “Don’t let me write one single letter without You holding my pen, not a sentence without You formulating it, not one punctuation mark without Your approval.” And the Master answers: “Writer, write! You have put your pen in a stronger hand. Now you have finally matured enough to be able to write a page which will pass approval” and filled with an awesome security, the “Contemplator” writes the very first clear syllables of his new year, “as a feather-light pen in the Great Writer’s hand”.
Jesus, whatever I do, let me always commence in Your name!