I was recently reflecting that since moving to Levenmouth over six years ago I have witnessed a number of changes. A large extension at a supermarket has made shopping locally more convenient for many. Wind turbines (although not everyone’s delight) have brought a certain taste of the future to us. The longstanding power station and chimney are standing no longer! More locally to us several blocks of flats have been demolished, creating space for further development (?).
I am sure that you can think of other changes that have taken place in recent years. The simple fact is that change is inevitable in life. Change comes for parents when their children grow up and leave home, or when they return home after a spell away, which is now a growing trend! Change comes for us all as we grow older, and have to make adaptions to the onset of health challenges that come with a maturing in life.
Sadly in recent decades we have also seen changes in peoples attitude to church, and the foundational Christian truths that this country is built on. An interesting fact in this matter is that more than 70% of those who responded to the 2001 census claimed to be Christian (down to 54% by the 2011 census), yet on average church attendance is down to 10% of the population throughout the UK.
But despite the changes all around us, and even in our lives, Christians (daily followers and disciples of Jesus) know His constancy in life no matter what changes and challenges come our way. The same Jesus of which the bible says is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb 13: 8), promises to walk with, guide and be a constant companion to all who truly trust Him alone for this life and the life to come.
So, no matter what you may think about the local church, it is all about Jesus who Himself says “I will build my church and not even the gates of hell will prevail against it” (Matt 16: 18). The local church is made up of ordinary people who follow Jesus, knowing that church is God’s idea not ours. The church itself is having to adapt to a changing culture, seeking to be relevant in a changing scene, whilst at the same time seeking to be faithful to God’s unchanging standards.
We each have a God shaped gap in our lives which can only be satisfied by finding peace with our Creator through Jesus Christ His Son the only Saviour. That is the uncompromising and unchanging message of the Christian bible in a changing world. And when people find Jesus they join a church, so that they can grow and learn together with other Christians. That won’t change no matter how much our culture changes.
Henry Francis Lyte, in his great old hymn ‘Abide with me’, penned the following words when singing about Jesus, “Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.” He discovered, as we all do, that change in life is inevitable and cannot be avoided. At the heart of the Christian message is the need for us all to know peace with God in this life before it is over. For, no matter what changes we face in this life, He (Jesus) promised to be our constant companion no matter what.
The greatest change that any of us can experience in this life is to turn back to God through Jesus before it is too late. That means saying sorry for our sinful pride and independence against Him. Asking for and receiving forgiveness in Jesus name, and when we do it is a change that God will honour now and forever. Acts 2: 38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”