I attended a winter semester graduation celebration yesterday. On the wall of the apartment where the festivities were being held was a framed quote from a Bob Dylan song: “The times they are a-changin’,” released on January 13, 1964 by Columbia Records. It was a song of its time — the 60’s.
But, as I considered the occupants of the apartment upon whose wall the quote and album cover photo was a-hangin, I reminded myself that these 20-something’s are the children of the teenagers of the 60’s ! ! Mind/time-warp. Wait, this should be MY apartment ! ! Those would have been MY sentiments during MY teenage years, not THEIR sentiments during THEIR early twenties. I kind-a thought, “Hey, get your OWN folk-rock and roll icon, this one is OURS ! !”
So, I wondered, “ARE the times a-changin’?” OR have the times stayed the same and the same underlying constant has been identified by them in the 2nd decade of the twenty-first century that was identified by us in the 1960’s? Perhaps, the poster DID belong on the wall after all.
Hmmm…. That’s really deep, man ! !
Things have not gottin’ worse. We have just moved to another verse. (Hey, that rhymes, man.) But, the same old song. Louder? Yes. Making a difference in more lives quicker? Oh yes. And, little or a lot more of this or that? Yes. But, the same song.
There IS a reason to keep all those old clothes and that old car. It and they will come back in style someday ! ! The OLD and the NEW speak of something changeless deep down below. Because this is the case, the Gospel is “the best news not just good news” not matter what era, nation, tribe, or language or circumstance in which it is faithfully preached and humbly received.
We can still pray the same prayers and read the same scriptures because the basic reality of sin and death has not changed. AND, the once-for-all victory of Christ Jesus does not have to be repeated to respond to something “new” from the sin and death factory of the evil one. And, it is not possible, by our own efforts, to come up with a way to relegate the saving work of Christ Jesus to the category of irrelevant. We will never get ahead of the curve of sin and death on our own. Christus victor yesterday, today, and forever — once for all — in response to the same sin and death under whose influence we have been living from near the beginning.
All of this impinges on our shallow definitions of “old” and “new” and “change” and “progress.” And that is good, because hidden in those shallow definitions are misappropriations and the perpetuation of false understandings of the Truth, Way, and Life — Christ Jesus.
Anyway, here is a quote that reflects on what it is that is at the “heart of the matter.”
“Many complain against technology.
Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world.
Is technology really to blame, or those who create technology and use it?
Is a wooden cross to blame if somebody crucifies someone on it?
Is a hammer to blame if a neighbor breaks his neighbors skull?
Technology does not feel good or evil.
The same pipes can be used for drinking water or the sewer.
Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people.”
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovich, From the Complete Works of Bishop Nikolai [in Serbian], Book 12