We live in an era of rapid change. For example, this year (2008) is the hundredth anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright brothers at Kittyhawk. When you stop and think about it, that really isn’t so long ago. Many times I’ve heard my Dad reminisce about how as a small child an overflight by an airplane was a novel event. When a plane flew over they would run out in the yard and wave. The pilot would wave back from his open cockpit!
Dad has also told me about hearing the remark a man made after reading in the newspaper that someone had driven a car from a certain town in California to another town. “You know, there just might be some potential in the automobile after all!”
In my own experience I remember, in high school, being asked to draw a picture of a computer. It was a shock to realize that I didn’t even know what one looked like. Fast forward to today. We have 4 or 5 computers in our house which are used almost every day.
Back when I was in school people were concerned about climate change. Only then, they were worried about the possibility of another ice age. 35 years later people are agonizing over global warming.
It’s not just science and technology which is changing. Our society and culture are also changing. Many of us here this morning have vivid memories of the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s.
One of the philosophies which is sweeping through our culture right now is Postmodern relativism. In other words, there are no absolutes. Truth depends on the perception of the individual. In their high school English literature classes, my children have been exposed to the notion that meaning is not determined by what the author wrote, but by the reader. At times the teachers assign grades not on how well a student understands what was written, but on how much the student can read into the piece.
All this change can be confusing and disorienting. We can be left wondering whether there is anything we can depend or count on. Is there such a thing as absolute truth? Is there any stability?
I’m grateful that in the midst of change we do have a fixed reference point. In Hebrews 13:8-14 it says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (NIV)
Fads may come and go. Technology will change. Society and culture can go through revolutions. But one thing which will never change is our need for Christ. Every single one of us has blown it. We all have sinned. Because we have sinned, we need the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He never changes. His sacrifice will never lose its power.
One of the reasons we come together each week is to remember that sacrifice. The bread reminds us of Christ’s body. The juice reminds us of His blood which cleanses us from our sin. Though the world changes all around us, if we are in Christ, we have a source of strength and stability. As long as we cling to Christ, we can never be swept away by the tides of change. Even though, as the old hymn says, “Change and decay in all around I see...” we have an unchanging hope because Christ, and His sacrifice for us, remains the same, forever.