Every Good Beginning

“Therefore persevere. By God’s help and by your own faithfulness something good will come from the unpromising beginning. For there are beginnings everywhere, and there are good beginnings, where you begin with God; and no day is the wrong one to begin upon – not even an unpromising one if you begin with God.” Soren Kierkegaard

The tombstone read “Deck.” Walking, trespassing between finalities on this cold December eve, guided by the waxing crescent moon, the sight delivered me a shivering sense of finality. I stared at the name, the final, chiseled perspective of a finished life.

I trespassed on and there, in measured steps away, I saw another one. “Deck” it read. And then, but a few steps more, as though walking through Dickens’ “Christmas Carol,” I saw a third. Was this my Christmas past, present and Christmas yet-to-be?

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Trespasses are the unpromising beginnings, and forgiving them, especially in our self, with God, is the good beginning. Until the scroll unrolls, we do not always know our trespasses. Where does the charade begin but in our contrived, blinding justifications? And can we ever forgive them until we are confronted by our own? Confrontation is a pained form of light.

The one who sets his own standard for life finds ease in its convenience. There is power in rulemaking. But the one who seeks God’s standard forever finds in his heart a constant stirring, leading, sinking into a truth – we are powerless after all. It’s a risk to relinquish that comfortable standard because it serves us well, but what God asks is this – to follow Him completely, to move forward in faith, to let go of our man-made contrivances and live in His presence. It’s a risk, by the way, a free fall, a damn scary proposition to let go of this convenience. But awaiting us is another truth. God is there to receive us.

How could I ever forgive a trespass until I know my own? And so it seems to me, the only standard by which God loves me is an elevating, freeing, confrontational love. Enlightened, I respond. And then, in the good beginning, I forgive. And in every good beginning, Christ is born again.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:1-5, 9 NKJV).

In that final etched monument to a finished life, what good can be said of that man, what light confronted him, what trespass began his forgiving, what beginning began with God?

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).

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