Thursday, August 19, 2010
The Preacher’s Corner
“Change is the only constant in life” Heraclitus
It was the ancient philosopher Heraclitus who said that change is the only constant in life. Other ways of saying the same thing are that no one can step into the same river twice, or that everything flows and nothing stays. Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. All is flux, nothing stays still.
Depending on your perspective, the inevitability of change can be both threatening and a great source of encouragement. On the one hand, we hate to see friends and loved ones grow old. On the other, we hope for a cure for heart disease and cancer.
Some people devote their lives to resisting change. They see change as an inevitable decline. But even George Will, an intellectual leader of conservative thinkers in America, has said that the best that conservatives can do is to retard the progress of change.
The idea of standing at the end of a rope, as in a game of tug-of-war, pulling for the losing side, with heels dug in, being dragged along, is not a very attractive thought, though there is some virtue in upholding one’s beliefs, even if we lose.
Dr. Ed Meek, retired journalism professor at the University of Mississippi, spoke on Mississippi Public Radio recently. He spoke of all the changes that have occurred in the field of journalism. Each newspaper was once set in type and printed locally. Now this is done digitally and the editor no longer gets his hands covered with ink up to the elbows just to put out the weekly South Reporter.
Daddy had a friend who sold x-ray equipment to doctors and hospitals. He said that over the course of his career that there was not a single thing he learned about x-ray equipment that was still current by the time he retired. Anyone who has gone for a cat-scan or an MRI in a modern hospital knows this is true.
Religion also changes. I have done so much work with old church records that I could write volumes about the changes that have occurred. Even churches like my own that rather pride ourselves in keeping things the way they have always been (“conserving the best,” we like to say), have seen amazing changes, and most of them — looking back — we do not regret.
There is the humorous story (to us, now) we tell at the Pilgrimage of Col. Walter, of Walter Place, being expelled from the church for the sin of dancing.
There is the sadder story of the church members who were owned by other church members who pocketed the profits of their labors and forbade them to learn to read and write or legally marry. The old gallery in the back of our church bears sad witness to that.
The Bible speaks of Jesus as “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
But we grow and change in our appreciation of Jesus and what He taught.
There is an old prayer I like to recall, that says, “Grant us, in all the changes and chances of this mortal life, to dread nothing but the loss of Thee, and to cast all our care upon Thee, who carest for us.” I find that helpful when changes come that I do not like. I also think of the couplet from the hymn,
“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide:”
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