Rev. Dr. Richard Hillenbrand
“The bloom is off the rose,” so the saying goes – a visual picture to drive home a deeper truth. It means simply that something is no longer seen as new or fresh or exciting. It’s lost its beauty, its vitality. I saw a rose that was sent to a friend the other day, but it was sent some time ago. The petals had darkened and many had dropped. “The bloom is off the rose.” Things today are not what they were. In all likelihood, you can go back and take a look at snow sculptures from Snowfest over the next week or so and notice the same thing: faded, melting, aged.
Remember “Happy New Year!” not that long ago? Those words call to mind fresh, exciting, new possibilities along with the excitement of new beginnings, or maybe even the re-making self! But by now … not so much. “The bloom is off the rose.” And the same can be true for the vitality of close relationships. It can be said of people as they move into later stages of life or career. Wherever there are disappointments and dashed hopes and things not as you wish, it can feel as if the bloom has withered, faded, dropped and died.
“Well, there’s a real bundle of joy!” Certainly less than satisfying, yes. So what brings hope and renewal? Not infrequently we dive into distractions and gadgets, and they command attention … for a while. “The big game” will be exciting to watch this week, but not much talked about in another month. The new smart phone or car while first bringing wonder soon becomes just a tool to do what we need.
Real renewal and re-freshment come as you, daily and moment by moment, breathe out” and get rid of what’s stale and harmful, and breathe in” to repair and restore. The body does this by expelling carbon dioxide and drawing in oxygen. Christians do it in confession and forgiveness. Sin is expelled and canceled as you “send it off” and confess it to God and to those affected. And you become new and fresh again as you receive, whenever you need it, God’s forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ, and pardon and re-connection with others, and even with yourself.
Jesus in the Scriptures speaks the words, behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5). While the context speaks of the end of time and a new heaven and earth, all things indicates that God’s people, too, will be refreshed, perfected, glorified! That’s yet in the future, but you can grab hold of a piece of that for today and now as you cast away hopelessness and doubt, and take hold of God’s power for change and renewal and restored relationships in your forgiveness in Jesus Christ.