Religion column: A new creature

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2017

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

It barely needs commenting that all of us are not perfect in our lives. Whether it was taking a childhood whack at an errant sibling, or retaliating for receiving one, our behaviors have not always been within normative Christian standards.

Perhaps, we have lied about something, or took something which was not ours, or taken advantage of someone less powerful than ourselves.

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With certainty, there have been times when many of our judgments and actions have had errors. Ourselves, or others, have been hurt at least emotionally by our these actions; intentional, or not. For those that insist their behaviors have been sterling, well…let us say they are a bit “too close to the trees,” for a proper view. For them it may be time to take out a well-sharpened axe to their egos and readjust their perspective with humankind and our Creator.

As children, our immediate supervisors, which could have been our parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, foster-parents, or any other moniker which suits, often provided guidance to our judgments. Sometimes this guidance was not readily accepted, or followed. Again, who amongst us did not rebel? It is as though this is our nature to not follow those who have our best interests at heart. Indeed, it is our nature.

An often-heard imperative, to the younger set, is to advise the recalcitrant to, “turn over a new leaf.” For the uninitiated, it has nothing to do with tree, timber, or lawn raking. It refers to the turning over of a new, fresh page, or beginning a new chapter in the Book of Life. The correction is a not-so-gentle statement is that the current course of action, and attitude, will lead to negative consequences.  At least, in our youth, we had someone to tell us these things.

So now we find ourselves as adults; at least in the chronological sense. As beings not entirely perfect, each of us is not fully grown up, as there is a bit of the child left in each of us and the judgements to go with this certainty. This is not a negative characteristic, as this is the fun-loving side of our personas. Imagine how boring life would be without a bit of a child’s view and the joy and creativity which goes with it!

Would it not be wonderful to have a loving authority to remind us to begin a new chapter in our lives, when we stray? The remarkable thing is, there is. As when we were children, we have to listen to the advice, given in this love, and follow it.

As adult Christians, our authority is our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Through His servant, Saint Paul, we are advised, and commanded, to put on a “new creature.”

While oddly falling on our modern ears, it is the advice to make big changes in our spiritual lives and, by doing so, beginning a renewed physical journey with Him. It is God’s telling us to regularly “turn over a new leaf.”

It is, as He will ask us on that fate-full day, “What was written in your Book of Life?”