Evermore and Evermore.

Tabula Rosa is how the ancients phrased it. For as we stand on the doorstep of yet another year, a “blank slate” is truly what God has given to each of us. In fact, as of this writing, I am pleased to report that in my personal life so far 2013 remains completely clear of clutter, free from friction, and unsullied by sin! Unfortunately, Tuesday is coming, however, and I’m already feeling the pressure of my perfect record falling.

What’s more, for fellow time travelers from the mid-twentieth century such as myself, the very notation of this new year still seems far too futuristic to be real. For if it actually is 2013, shouldn’t we have those flying cars that were promised to us long ago in the Jetsons? And how is that our culture seems less civil and our society more fractious than even a decade or so ago? For indeed, can anyone look at the world today and say that we are genuinely progressing onward to a better future?

Fortunately, however, one thing remains not only consistent but even encouraging. For despite the dizzying differences of our day, Jesus Christ is still the same. In mathematical terms, He is our Constant, the non-varying value that is completely fixed, a nullary needing no arguments in order to prove that He is true, for He simply is. Full stop. Quod erat demonstrandum. QED, or that which is to be shown.

A Roman lawyer and politician born in the northern part of Spain in the waning years of the fourth century got this, I think. For he translated his understanding of the Christian faith into a poem that others in turn have translated and that we still sing today in this season of the year. Seeking to sum up the significance of the Incarnation, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens put it this way:

Of the Father’s heart begotten, ere the world from chaos rose,
He is Alpha, from that Fountain all that is and hath been flows.
He is Omega, of all things yet to come the distant Close
Evermore and evermore.

By His Word was all created; He commanded and ’twas done,
Earth and sky and boundless ocean, universe of Three in One.
All that sees the moon’s soft radiance, all that breaths beneath the Sun,
Evermore and evermore.

And then, the poet reminds us our part in this story of the ages, commanding

Sing, ye heights of heaven, His praise; angels and archangels, sing!
Wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful, let your joyous anthems ring.
Every tongue His name confessing, countless voices answering:
Evermore and evermore.

No matter how 2013 begins or ends, or what the pressures may be, or even if we never get those flying cars, we have a Constant in whom there is no shadow of turning. Wheresoe’er ye be. There, and back again. In fact, if you’re looking for a watchword for 2013, here’s a simple suggestion from sixteen hundred years ago: Stay with the evermore and evermore.

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