Today is my birthday and I’m older than I thought. I was feeling pretty spry until I saw that GI Joe just celebrated his 50th birthday and the Beatles celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Ed Sullivan appearance. I was seven years old when both things happened. I was ten when Green Bay beat Kansas City in the first Super Bowl. I remember when records gave way to cassette tapes, (before 8-tracks, CD’s, and Itunes). I was in high school, for crying out loud, when computers used ticker tape and we had to use slide rules. So much has changed and so often that it’s getting hard to remember how things used to be.
I grew up in the 60’s, one of the most tumultuous and world-changing decades since the War Between the States. American home life went from Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best to All in the Family. Teeny boppers and sock hops gave way to drugs, protests, psychedelic music, long hair, free love and burning draft cards. Things have continued drifting left ever since. Just recently, I got two reminders.
Last week, I went to the toy section of three stores to buy some western toys I needed for a special project. None of the stores had ANY western toys -- no pistols, no holsters, no horses, no nothing. What kind of world do we live in when boys don’t wear cowboy hats, boots, holsters and pistols to go outside and play Cowboys & Indians?! I, and all my friends, played cowboy and watched westerns on TV. I used to wear my cowboy hat and pistol belt while eating pinto beans out of a tin cup as I watched Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Rebel, The Rifleman, and the Lone Ranger.
Yesterday, I clicked on an internet list of the 25 Most Famous Dogs in TV History. I was certain of the top two, but I wanted to see who the others were. Turns out, my top two were only eight and ten! What kind of world do we live in when Rin Tin Tin and Lassie don’t even make the top five?! Adding insult to injury, the Astro from the Jetsons was only number twelve. Snoopy was three, which made sense, but the other dogs rated above RinTinTin, Lassie and Astro didn’t. Have you ever heard of Wishbone? Me neither. He’s the most famous TV dog of all time!
The world has changed and continues to do so. Generally speaking, I enjoy and embrace change. But there are some things from a generation ago that I really miss. Sometimes, I even worry about all these changes -- especially the ones happening to the church. Who knows where they will take us? Well, God does. The One who never changes is with us when we do. What a great comfort in an ever-changing world. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever” and the Apostle James wrote that God is “the Father of lights with whom is no variation or shadow of turning”. I always appreciated the words of Amy Grant’s El Shaddai, “Age to age He’s still the same, by the power of His name”.
In the garden of Eden, when God walked with Adam and Eve, He was the same as He is today. When He spoke to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets He was no different than He is now. His heart is the same, His mind is the same, His will is the same and His love is the same. The God who spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus and to John on the isle of Patmos is the same One who speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit.
Although He never changes, He is always working to change us – to make us more like Christ. He even uses us to change the world. By faith, we look to that great day of change still to come. In the book of Revelation, when the New Jerusalem descends down to earth from Heaven, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End will make all things new. Now that will be a glorious change!
As our world continues to change, may we follow the One who never does.