What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
The "Grandfather of Contemporary Christian Music," Larry Norman, once wrote a song entitled "Nothing Really Changes." It was a very creative piece suggesting that while the externals may change (e.g., long ago they drove chariots, today we drive Corvettes), in the most basic ways "Nothing really changes. Everything remains the same. You are what you are 'til the day that you die."
This seems to fly in the face of my father's oft repeated line about how nothing stays the same. In the 36+ years that Ruth and I have lived in Lancaster County that certainly seems to be the case.
- We used to bank at Farmer's First. That got bought out by Susquehanna Bank (resulting in the closing of the two branches nearest our home). That in turn was bought out by BB&T (and with that even more changes).
- Pheasants used to live in the flood plain in front of our house. Deer frequented that plain and there a black bear was spotted back in 1983. A flock of wild turkeys once went walking through our yard. It has now been years since such wildlife has been seen (though I did see a Great Blue Heron just this past week).
- The intersection nearest our home (Harrisburg Pike and Rohrerstown Road) was where two two-lane roads crossed each other. The light had just been recently added. Now it is often a challenge to even get up to the intersection!
This coming summer my two sisters along with my dad (should his health hold out) and myself are to travel to Wisconsin and then to the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. This will be a trip along "memory lane" as we visit the places we remember from the time when I was just a little boy. I think we will be overcome with how much things have changed. Should we visit the church where our dad pastored (for 12 years) and where my sisters and I spent our formative years I wonder if we will even see a single person that we know.
So, things change…and yet they remain the same. Two conflicting ideas but both very true.
And here we are with a new year. Yet is it new? Will it be different than the past? Nothing is new…yet nothing stays the same.
Often people make New Year's Resolutions at this time. They say that most of these resolutions are broken or die by January 12. So all the promises (to one's self) about exercising, losing weight, reading more, or writing a novel…they tend to get broken quite quickly. Maybe that ironically fits in with the "nothing is new" side of things. That is, the resolution to change is not new just as the breaking of the resolution is likewise not new. This sounds more like living in a rut…an annually repeated rut.
The only hope for REAL CHANGE is when a force (a Spirit) greater than our selves conquers our fickle hearts and does something that is TRULY NEW. Call it revival; call it conversion; call it what you will. But what is coming…it truly is coming…is a NEW DAY when the King of Righteousness has His proper place in our lives and in the lives of those around us. That is when the world will see something truly new.