One hundred years ago, Chevrolet’s first production car the Classic Six hit the streets. You started it with a hand crank. On my third birthday, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Each morning I put an altimeter, atlas, Bible, bookstore, camera, calendar, calculator, computer, compass, record player, TV, level, fax machine, and phone into my pocket. My “phone” can make a video, bounce it off a satellite miles over head and send to a friend in India. We all live differently. In 1900, 60% of Americans worked in agriculture: today less than 1% of us farm. In 1965, Roger Daltrey, of the Who, sang I hope I die before I get old. Roger turns 70 next year. Change!
Change! Population shifts, transportation advances, technological advancement, an information explosion and resultant diversity have changed the church culture as much as the printing press and protestant reformation. Churches built 30 years ago did not talk about where to put the screen or how to get Wi-Fi in the sanctuary so people could read their Bibles.
Although, change excites some early adapters, many resist change. In Luke 5:32 John’s disciples questioned the lack of fasting and going to parties by Jesus and the disciples. Jesus spoke of discipleship as celebration. Jesus then shared a parable about wineskins, patches and change. Jesus warns that most people prefer “the old” even as Christ ushers in change: a New Covenant, a New Testament or New Commandment of Love.
Christian faith is timeless and adaptable. Jesus sent the Good News out to every tongue, nation, tribe and culture. God speaks through an English, Polish or Portuguese Bible. Our faith is “a living hope.” (1 Peter 1:3). The words of Jesus fit every age, culture and life because Jesus is not simply a historical figure for study but Christ is a present reality transforming us. Jesus taught the ever timeless ever adapting truth: If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:31) When the Spirit of Truth comes, (the Holy Spirit) will guide you into all the truth. (16:13). For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:20) The Bible read on velum scrolls lit by oil-lamps is the one downloaded by your teen. The Christ who reformed Luther and the church stirs believers today. The Spirit that guided Aquinas, Bonheoffer and Ezekiel comes to us today.
We never know what is next. However, as change comes, let us celebrate the timeless God who renews, revives, rekindles, remolds, remakes, and refines us. Let us continue to pray, adapt, and live into Jesus’ prayer Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.