In the Greenleaf series finale, I heard much more than an artificial sermon, and I want to share with you what I heard. I heard a message I just can’t seem to shake about “something new”, from Isaiah 43:18,19. When Lady Mae Greenleaf preached the final message of the OWN Series “Greenleaf”, I heard something that reached beyond the script and screen. I heard an admonition for people to plea with God for newness. This is also the precipice upon which we can build our case for requesting newness from God. Considering the immense losses characterized by the pandemic, it’s a good time to receive newness from God. Almost nothing is the same as it was before last year. Why spend time trying to get back to what may never return? This is the perfect time to pray, “Lord, make me something new.” After surviving the first leg of a global pandemic, if not done already, we all need to ask the Lord for a clean heart. We made it through the worst of times, made worse by an epidemic of abject failure in the white house. For many of us, newness is the gift that remains unopened following the Christmas season. If you’ve been living beneath your Kingdom privilege, ask for a new mind and heart to receive and process God’s plan for your life. If you’ve been away from the ark of safety, it’s a good time to ask for a new heart pointed to Christ. Maybe greed or other distractions have taken hold of your focus. It’s completely fine to ask for renewed focus. Whatever you need, God is able and even willing to give. In fact, James tells us that all good and perfect gifts come from God (James 1:17). If you lack wisdom, he tells us to ask God who will graciously give it to us and doesn’t berate or tear us down for asking (James 1:5).
While the show is fictional and loosely based on the lives of a few preachers and their families (the writers kept viewers guessing on that), what “Lady Mae’s character preached in the series finale is very real. As this year closes, let’s close chapters on relationships that aren’t working to serve the best interest. Let’s pack up if needed and follow God’s leading to His place of provision for you. Let’s forge ahead and create new friendships and partnerships that will serve symbiotically and create synergistic wholeness. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that we need each other. Far more than that, we need the right people in our lives and need to make room for others to go and come as directed by destiny.
In the series finale, Bishop Greenleaf was dead, and Lady Mae had been given the reins of the church. If you watched the series, you know just how tumultuous Bishop Greenleaf’s tenure was. You know that it wasn’t without scandal, but you also know how hard he worked to try and serve the church, despite his flaws. Last year, many of our generals in the faith have transitioned leaving the ministries they founded and cultivated without a leader suddenly. In the prayer for the Lord to make us new, there’s also an onus that we must accept in being made someone new. Many of us will have to rise into a posture of leadership, some will find that they have run but not far enough to escape the call of God on their lives.
Many will find themselves in the strange land of servanthood, not knowing when the journey began or how they arrived. This is what 2021 will look like for many others. We are leaving behind so many beloved saints, loved ones and friends in 2020-the year none of us saw coming. It was the year of vision, not because of what we could see, but because of what we couldn’t. For this, the year of vision is now known as the year of clarity. Much of what we now see is clear to us and clearer than it has ever been. Many marriages have failed, and forlorn lovers now gone their separate ways, never to return. Many have discovered that the jobs and corporations they poured their best selves into see them as expendable and not the irreplaceable asset they thought they were. Many churches have discovered that their building was merely an idol as membership engagement suffered when the ministry was idled by gathering limits of ten or fewer and the advent of weekly streaming for services of each size. By 2021, we will see much more clearly than we did in January 2020 but what we see will require a newness not everyone has or will be ready for. While some have embraced the need for relationships, some have discovered that it was the people around them who held up their progress. They’ll in turn forge ahead alone and unafraid of the journey. They won’t resemble the person that entered 2020 unsuspecting of the tragedy, trials and triumphs the year brought. In all, it was the perfect setup for the year we are to soon face.
A Prayer for 2021
So Lord, make me something new! When I’ve been untrue, make me a truth bearer and not a tale bearer. When I’ve been unfaithful, make me as high fidelity as a Maxwell tape, because ain’t nothing like the real thing! When I’ve been afraid, make me bold like a lion! When I’ve been unsure, give me security in your Word! When I’ve been without, supply my need according to your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. When I’ve been distant, draw me close to you. When I’ve been distracted, give me clear focus, and clear my path. When I’ve been lost, be my compass. When I’ve been angry, sooth my spirit and give me peace. When I’ve been lonely, comfort me with your presence. When I’ve been hasty, give me patience. When I’ve been haughty and lifted with pride, humble me under your mighty hand. When I’ve been sick, heal me! When I’ve been empty, fill me! When I’ve been in grief, turn my mourning into dancing. When I’ve been without a song, give me a melody for the midnight hour.