“Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” is an old rhyme repeated at weddings. I’ve known many brides through the years who’ve been creative in order to include these items in their bridal attire.
I suppose “something new” is the theme song of our age.
Those of us who have lived a few years now remember how things used to be, along with the exhilaration of new experiences.
My generation remembers the “party line” and the tolls for long distance calls. At one time telephone companies offered free long distance after 9 p.m., and I remember friends calling at that magic hour. As a boy in mission groups, I wrote letters to missionaries around the world and think about the thrill of getting a letter in return with an exotic stamp on the envelope. I also remember the first time I communicated with a gentleman in India by internet. I hit “send” and the message traveled through cyberspace immediately. I told about this in a college class once and the students weren’t impressed. But one day they’ll share “change” stories of their own.
When Paul went to Greece in obedience to his Macedonian vision, he traveled to the intellectual capital of the world: Athens. Luke records an interesting commentary: “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).
Research says we have a lot of Athenians in America today who constantly search for the newest things in worship. People frequently flock to new churches in new places where the people do new things. Spiritual tradition is sometimes thought to be unwanted and out of date.
Of course most churches, even if they consider themselves traditional, now find themselves doing some new things. I spend time with PowerPoint these days, as well as Bible commentaries, when I search for images to enforce the sermon. I’m grateful for this modern tool, all the while thinking about some places I’ve preached in over the years that were so far out in the woods we were happy to have electricity!
New things are beneficial if they help us communicate, which is the main idea.
But something old shouldn’t be jettisoned just because it’s old. Old doesn’t automatically mean “bad.” Old things can be “tried and true” if they honor the Lord and present the message of the gospel. Old churches have a track record of integrity and visible results from what they’ve done over the years.
Old churches and young churches have the same message. The message is 2,000 years old and it yet speaks of the power of God unto salvation.
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.