Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New Beginnings 101 at Greendale

(Guest post by Tyler Q)

It was just another new semester at Greendale Community College, but it was our first one there. The pilot episode of the show Community opens with a bald man, the Dean, standing on a platform to share some words to the students.

“What is community college?” he asks. “Well, you’ve heard all kinds of things. You’ve heard it’s loser college for remedial teens, 20-something dropouts, middle-aged divorcees, and old people keeping their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity.”

“That’s what you’ve heard. However, I wish you luck”

The Dean smiles triumphantly at the crowd of students, who stare back blankly at him. The Dean suddenly realizes his mistake and scrambles through his cards in confusion.

“There’s more to this speech. There’s actually a middle card that’s missing”

The Dean never finds that middle card. However, the six seasons that ensued (and hopefully, someday, a movie) all clue us in on the hope that the Dean was hoping to instill upon the students. Because for remedial teens, 20-something dropouts, middle-aged divorcees, old people, or whatever else those students were, they needed to believe that Greendale would provide a new beginning for them. No matter where they came from, they would have chance to become something more while there.

While we may not find our own Greendale, we must obtain that same feeling of hope in this life despite the trials we each face. Without such hope, our life drudges on and we feel forever stuck where we are and as who we are. While Greendale’s motto was “Welcome to Greendale: You’re already accepted,” Jesus Christ Himself perfects this invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He’s not just wishing us luck, He’s inviting us to join with Him and to receive greater blessings than just success.

At least for me personally, that’s what I’m seeking right now -  greater blessings, especially “rest.” Amidst all my personal trials this year, this was also the first year that the pandemic has spanned the entire year. With the New Year looming around the corner, I sought a new beginning. I wanted to just leave behind any unpleasantness that has happened in the past year. But God has taught me to look at “new beginnings” differently.

In Moses 6:59, we read that each of us must be “born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.”  Baptism is a symbol of being “born again.” But why would He ask us to be “born again” instead of we need something greater than that. Being “born” is great, but what’s the point if we are still in such an imperfect state, doomed to mess up again. Even after begin “born again,” we still fail due to weakness. Can’t being “born again” mean that we already enter into a perfected state?

Perhaps being born again isn’t just about becoming clean again. Perhaps it’s not about entering into a “perfected state” but instead a state that we are being perfected. This way, it’s not just about where we came from or even who we are today - though those are important parts of our journey of discipleship. It’s about where we are headed and what we are willing to do to make it there. When our lives are aimed towards Christ, that is when we feel the blessings of being “born again.” We feel light. We feel renewed. We feel sustained. 

Elder Clark S. Gilbert shared “Brothers and sisters, in this Church, we believe in the divine potential of all of God’s children and in our ability to become something more in Christ. In the Lord’s timing, it is not where we start but where we are headed that matters most.” Being “born again” is the starting mark of discipleship - a new beginning that isn’t about what we are leaving behind as much as it where we hope to become. We may not be perfect at the time of our commitment. But we become a people who when given an eternity will eventually reach perfection.

I invite all of us to use this New Year not as a chance to leave everything behind. We won’t be able to fully let anything go in our lives unless we fully embrace the Lord instead. For me, this New Year will be a time where I recommit to where I am headed - to Christ. Christ has already taken Himself our struggles. He will take care of them, and more importantly us, as we turn to Him with all our heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment