“Nothing New Under the Sun or All Things New?” Birdie Shawker, Communications Coordinator, Unity of San Antonio
I enjoy a good long walk in my neighborhood several times a week. It is worth the discipline to get up and out early in the morning, before the heat of the day sets in. In a setting of blue sky, sunshine, flowers bobbing in the wind, it makes a time before COVID 19 and civil unrest highly memorable. Palpable even.
The views and sounds of birds chirping, the slight breeze blowing seems to communicate to me that all of that has come to pass. That conflict and suffering are not ultimately who we are as extensions and expressions of Divine Love. I say that not to minimize the experience of anyone or minimize the lives that have been lost in recent times. I say that to affirm that all of this has come and will come to pass, and if we are wise we will learn how to apply timeless spiritual Truth in ways that make the world a better place.
How can I say that, you might think, when even clinicians cannot seem to agree on best practices in the time of COVID 19?
My friends, as the scripture says,
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9
As a Registered Nurse, I can speak that that intelligently for you, I think. There is a process in place despite appearances otherwise. Clinicians were initially conflicted about AIDS, and first SARS infections, and many other infectious diseases as well. Providers advised different things over time to prevent different diseases. Until they had studied them long enough that they could come to consensus in what to advise patients to do consistently. Interventions and recommendations change over time as more is learned about every disease.
Most importantly, clinicians have always overcome. They have found ways to manage, or cure, and most of all – comfort people – as they walk through the experience of disease. Time and time again, every time.
Even among theologians there is debate as to what all of this means. I quoted scripture earlier that “There is nothing new under the sun.”
I had a healthy debate with a classmate of mine the other day, and his stance, if I sum it up in scripture was, “Behold, I make all things new.” (From Revelation 21:5.) Life is new every moment, he says.
People do have a habit of saying we are, between a world pandemic and civil unrest over racism living in unprecedented times.
I have every confidence that human beings will continue to be here; we have risen above similar difficulties before.
But will things change, will they be new?
I really, really hope so, and that is the focus of my prayer life right now. I am praying to be patient with people in grocery stores not wearing masks, because my son works in one. I am praying for understanding all sides of the story of protests and to understand my privilege as a white person. I am praying all things will be new, upholding a vision of a peaceful and spiritually transformed world.
But transformation takes a lot more than thoughts and prayers. To make things new right, spiritually guided action – small and large steps alike, need to be taken. How does that happen?
I think that a positive, practical step to taking the right action is simply a mindset of curiosity. If we want there to be something new under the sun, a good step in the right direction is to ask one’s self, “What am I to learn from these situations?” Also,”How do I show up in the world in a way that reflects the spiritual understandings I’ve worked to gain?
It is up to us, my friends, we choose.
We choose if there is nothing new under the sun, or if all things are new.
If we all do our part, in small and large ways, a new world awaits.