August 14, 2021

Your Father's Oldsmobile

When I think of your ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O Lord.
Psalm 119:52
Novelty. Innovation. We long for what's new, what's next. This is what drives the economy. Consumer products from laundry detergent to automobiles tempt us with their improvements. I'm reminded of an old TV commercial advertising that the 1988 Cutlass wasn't "your father's Oldsmobile." Of course the car it advertises not only looks pitifully dated 30+ years later, but Oldsmobile itself is now a thing of the past.

The church is not immune to the glitz and glamor of innovation. We, too, are ever striving for something new. Churches with big screens, light shows, and rock bands are packed to the rafters, while those of us that still depend on hymnals and organs and a pastor with a pulpit are struggling to make it to next year. But when I look at megachurches that on the outside look like warehouses, and on the inside look like concert halls, I can't help but think, "This, too, shall pass."

What matters is the eternal word of God, who was with God in the beginning, through whom the universe was created, who spoke through law and psalm and prophet, who came to us in the flesh and died on Calvary. What will endure is the life that was spoken into being before all things, which triumphed over the tomb, and which lives on in the proclamation of the church—the body of Christ that is found huddled together in a cramped house in China, in a magnificent cathedral in Europe, in a modern worship center in Australia, or in 150-year-old brick church on a square in the Midwest. 

Regardless of whatever new expression is en vogue this year, the word of God can be traced back to a time before time, and in that we can find both life and comfort.

This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us.
 1 John 1:2
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
When I am confused by the choices that innovation presents, O Eternal One, help me to find comfort in you—for in your word alone is life.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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