We also appreciate things staying the same. For as much good and value that can be found in the short list of changes from above, there is something deeply comforting about the things in life that stay the same. People who are consistent in a good way. Places that don't change much over time and, thereby, bring back wonderful memories of days gone by.
All of us would agree that we find ourselves in a world inundated with change. However, it is nice to come across little examples of things staying the same to be reminded that some great things don't change much. I am thinking of the welcome of an old friend, the taste of a favorite recipe, the subtle details of a famous work of art, or the soothing tones of a classic piece of music.
This week, one of my classmates pointed out another little example of things staying wonderfully consistent and true over time. We are studying the writings of Paul, the early apostle to the Gentiles whose stories in Acts and letters through the New Testament combine to give the Church a divine perspective on God's work in the lives of the early Christians. Paul is brilliant and controversial. He said some things that don't apply anymore: rules on women's roles in worship and opinions on slavery immediately come to mind. However flawed he was, he was faithful and tireless in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He was also consistent on the things that matter the most.
One of the most beloved passages Paul ever wrote concludes the 'love chapter' in 1 Corinthians 13. He says faith, hope and love remain, and the greatest of these is love. That letter was written late in his life. But, did you know those words appear in his works at the very beginning? We are convinced that the first Christian writing ever written was Paul's letter to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians), probably written in 48 AD. Notice the third verse of how it starts:
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.Faith, Hope and Love. They are at the beginning of his ministry and at the end. They remain, indeed. My prayer is that the same can be said of us. Each of us as persons and of our church, as well. Things change, but some of the best things can stay the same. Let us live with faith, never lose hope, and love God and each other like Jesus did. Grace and Peace, Scott