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New Harmony: Spirituality keeps things feeling fresh

Published: Sunday, Feb. 3 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

You get to see a lot of things silhouetted against the skyline — trees, trucks and, if you're lucky, some lonely soul on horseback.

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I have found that driving West into the sunset at 75 miles an hour not only gives you an extra 30 minutes of daylight, but it gives you more time to think about the sunset.

That's what happened this past week on my way to San Diego.

You get to see a lot of things silhouetted against the skyline — trees, trucks and, if you're lucky, some lonely soul on horseback.

Artists with a heightened sense of taste steer clear of such scenes, of course.

They see them as clichés, as kitsch.

They are scenes that have been depicted a million times.

They lack freshness.

They lack imagination.

But God doesn't seem to care about such things.

He keeps making those clichéd scenes over and over.

That's because, for God, nothing ever gets old.

It's only we high and mighty mortals who worry about stuff falling out of fashion, only vain human beings who fret that something will become old hat — like our old hats, for example.

Wouldn't it be sweet to see all things as forever fresh?

That old leisure suit from the closet would look as spiffy as the latest threads.

Those 1960s bands you like to listen to?

Their music would still be as hip as Death Cab for Cutie.

And the thing is, the world around us can actually be that way — if we live life on a spiritual plane.

This next Sunday, for instance, some little choir in rural Arkansas will sing "Amazing Grace," a hymn that has been sung a gazillion times.

But from their lips to God's ear, the hymn will feel like it was written yesterday, as if the ink were still wet on the page.

And spiritually, that will be the case.

Spiritual sincerity makes it happen.

The prayers in that little church, filled with well-worn phrases and traditional ideas, will sound, to God, like fresh poetry.

The sermon will ring like a freshly minted stump speech.

Writer William Saffire once said, "Avoid stock phrases like the plague."

And that's good advice, in the world.

But for God, no phrase spoken from the heart is ever stock.

All phrases are alive and bright.

Things of the spirit get refashioned each day — like those silhouetted cowboys in the sunset.

Like a child's prayer.

Like a mother's plea.

They are expressions filled with vigor, power and freshness.

They are forever new.

EMAIL: jerjohn@desnews.com

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