Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thoughts on New Year's Day

"In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. His most apparent remnants in modern culture are his namesakes: the month of January and those caretakers of doors and halls, janitors.

"Janus was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions and was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood."

So says Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

Change. Transitions. I am reminded of a verse in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Just like Janus, we can look into the past with one face, an old one, and into the future with another face, a brand new one, but only if we are in Christ and have become new creatures. This, by the way, is not self-reformation or turning over a new leaf; this is asking Jesus Christ to give us a new life. Lot's wife, who had her own way of doing things, looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. And even though it is not we who change ourselves, we do have a role in the process. The Apostle Paul said, "I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

And speaking of doors, I'm also reminded of a little song we used to sing in the children's department of the First Methodist Church in Mansfield, Texas, way back in the 1950's before the United Methodists were United:

"One door and only one,
And yet its sides are two:
Inside and outside,
On which side are you?

One door and only one,
And yet its sides are two.
I'm on the inside,
On which side are you?"

Your reading assignment for today is the Gospel of John, chapter 10.

No comments: