‘Behold I Make All Things New’: A Reading for Worship by Deanna Brown

Reader 1: BEHOLD, I make all things new.

Reader 2: This is a day when we celebrate the new in a changing world.


Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Deanna Brown (right) and Frank Ramirez lead in a choral reading for Wednesday evening worship. The reading was authored by Brown, who also served as worship leader for the service.

Reader 3: And you think that’s good news?

What’s wrong with the old?


2 I remember Annual Conference when it was held at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Brethren arrived with a 10 dollar bill and the 10 Commandments…and didn’t break either one of them.


3 I remember when we were the BYPD.

1 BYPD???? Beautiful Young Precious Dunkers?

2 Bodaciously Yearning Pastry Dividers?

3 No! We were the Brethren Young People’s Department.


1 I remember when women did NOT wear earrings to church.

And I remember the days when only the women wore earrings.


  1. I remember when meat was good for you;

3 and people thought of air as clean and sex as dirty.


1 What happened to those Saturday drives into town – to the filling station and the 5 ‘n dime, the moving picture show and soda shop?

3 What happened to the days when hula hoops and slinkys provided festive fun?

2 What happened to the days when people knew what I was talking about when I asked, “Where’s the nearest phone booth?”

1 Or when I called something ducky

or the cat’s pajamas.

3 Or said: fifty-two skidoo!


2 When was the last time you heard these heart-warming phrases?

3 Ain’t got much gumption.

1 Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

3 You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

2 Well, I declare!

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Deanna Brown (right) and Frank Ramirez lead in a choral reading for Wednesday evening worship. The reading was authored by Brown, who also served as worship leader for the service.

1 Isn’t it more expressive to say

2 Don’t get your bloomers caught in an updraft!

1 rather than “calm down”?

3 Or he’s just a bump on  the log.

1 Instead of “He’s lazy”?

2 Or Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise!

1 Instead of “If it all goes well”?

3 Do you remember ice boxes and washboards, threshing rings and rumble seats?

2 How about crinolines?

3 and outhouses?


1 Clearly, some things are meant to stay in the historical archives.


2 But who wants to live in a culture where classic fairytales are condensed to 60-second sound bites?


3 And cell phones become a utensil at dinnertime.


1 And the Internet superhighway carries hundreds of billions of messages every day.


3 Land ‘o Goshen!

1 Land ‘o Goshen!


1 Imagine a world where we could breathe the air.

2 Where we could turn off the television

1 Or even turn on the television with the right clicker.


2 Violence, oppression, exploitation, and globulultion.

3 Reality TV, alienation, and lack of forbearance.


1 Who wants this media-drenched data rich, channel surfing, computer-gaming, high-band width, multi-tasking virtual age?


3 And yet…

2 Listen!

1 Listen!

3 Behold, I make all things new. (Rev. 21:5)

1 This is a new Day. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

2 Sing unto the Lord a new song (Psalm 96:1)

3 I will put a new spirit within you. (Ez 11:19)

1 if anyone be in Christ, they are a new creation. ( 2 Cor 5:17)

2 God led the people of Israel – not by the familiar way but by the roundabout way of the wilderness….(Ex. 13:18)


1 Isn’t God always calling us to be made new?

2 “To unlearn the follies of a lifetime

3 “To see through inbred self-deceptions

1 “To deepen understanding, compassion, and conviction.” (Abraham  Hershel)



All: What does it mean to think anew?


1 To remember that our salvation is not defined by botox or plastic surgery or what we own…

2 have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul?


3 To know that we are not burdened by years but gifted with years.


2 To know that we can listen –

1 even though we wear hearing aides

3 See with God’s eyes –

1 even with bifocals

3 And walk the talk –

1 even though we sometimes walk slowly.


2 Martin Buber wrote, “To be old is a glorious thing when one has not unlearned what it means to begin.

3 Emily Dickenson wrote, “We turn not older with years but newer every day.”


2 Behold, I make all things new.

3 Behold, I make all things new.

1 Behold, I make all things new.

2 Here I am, God.

  1. Here I am God.

1 Here I am, God.


All: Make us new!


–Deanna Brown wrote this reflective reading for National Older Adult Conference 2011. Brown was worship leader for the Wednesday evening service at NOAC. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and founder and facilitator of Cultural Connections Women’s Sojourns to India.


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