Last week I was talking to a classical guitarist in a clinic waiting room.  He was there, I suppose, to create a calm and healing atmosphere for the patients.  But between songs, we talked.

I had my baby daughter with  me.  He told an anecdote about a little boy who was meeting his new baby sister for the first time.  “Nice,” the boy says, “but where are the wheels?”  I think the point was that the boy expected something he had been told was new and exciting to be a lot more like a toy truck.

Earlier the guitarist and I had been talking about the Ashokan Farewell.  We both thought it was 19th C. folk American when we heard it.  We both later discovered it was actually a modern piece.  “It’s new and old-timey,” the guitarist said.

With my baby there, with the anecdote about the little boy in mind, with the discussion about the new and old-timey song still back there in my mind too, something clicked.

Babies are new but old-timey.  Each baby is new, but no baby is novel.  Babies don’t need to be novel, because they are genuinely new.  The novelty we are all crazy for is fake newness.

Babies are new.  Spring is new.  The gospel doesn’t offer much novelty, but Christ makes all things new.

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